My BNI Story – James McBrearty


I’ve been a BNI member for nearly 2 years now, and as BNI will be celebrating it’s 25th anniversary soon I’d like to share my experiences.

I joined BNI in Autumn 2008, and remember being somewhat concerned about having to do a 60 second presentation – like many people who have become self employed networking isn’t something that people generally have experience of.

My first ’60 seconds’ was probably more like 10 with a quick sit down as soon as it was over! The thought of doing a 10 minute presentation to the group was even worse.

However in the supportive chapter environment, and with the training courses provided by BNI I was slowly able to develop my skills and become more comfortable doing the 60 seconds presentation.

Soon it was time for my 10 minute presentation and that went ok, afterwards I was surprised how quickly the time seemed to go.

After four months I was offered the role of Secretary Treasurer, I thought about this as the role involved being part of the leadership team and having to make a short presentation to the chapter and visitors weekly, however with my experience gained to date I accepted.

Three months later I was asked if I would like to be Chapter Director. I really wasn’t sure about this as I would be running the meetings each week and it would be outside my comfort zone, however it was a supportive environment and I would receive training in how to do it so I accepted. Now I would be running the meetings each week, when a few months ago I could barely do 10 seconds!

This went well and over my leadership term I was able to develop until I was fairly comfortable about presenting to a group of people.

Dr Misner talked recently about the butterfly effect and how one event can lead to others, this is certainly something I’ve experienced thanks to my membership of BNI and my development there.

Since my term as Chapter Director I have presented to several different networking groups about my own business and also about social networking which I am a prolific advocate of. I was also offered a chance to present to 50 financial advisers in London and with my BNI presenting experiences I accepted.

After my term as chapter director finished I was offered the chance to become an assistant director for BNI. This involves looking after chapters, presenting to them and running training courses for members.

This was the next level and would give me a chance to learn more so I accepted. I attended director training then shortly afterwards went to the US international directors conference in Long Beach, California.

I learnt a lot there from other directors freely sharing their knowledge and as well as meeting Dr Misner I heard about the BNI author mentee program there, which provides assistance to BNI members so that they can develop their writing skills. I’ve been using the help for blogging and thanks to the support my own book is nearing completion.

The butterfly effect also comes into play here, recently I was offered the chance to test fly a new twin engine aircraft and write up my experiences so the skills I’ve developed meant this was an easy task and I had the review completed the same day I flew the aircraft. The review is due to be published in the next few months in Flyer magazine, one of the UK’s leading private flying magazines.

As an assistant director I am now looking after two chapters and as well as that I am also a BNI member myself, being the current Secretary/Treasurer in the Esher & Cobham chapter.

I was very pleased to find that one of my chapters I look after, BNI Kingswood, was ranked the number one chapter in Surrey last month – and was also ranked 15th out of all the UK BNI chapters.

When I started with BNI giving a 60 second presentation to a few people was extremely uncomfortable, now I regularly present to 30-40 people and have presented at Team Leader Training to over 100 people.

I’ve also run trainings for BNI in Spain as well. Having the same proven structure worldwide means that this is quite straightforward, and the two chapters I visit on the South coast of Spain hold their meetings in English.

I’m very grateful for BNI and how I have developed personally, going back two years there was no way I would have believed I’d be standing in front of 100 people presenting.

@Gailnott said recently on twitter that her BNI theme for the next year is to ‘learn more to earn more’ something I very much agree with, and with the training and support available through BNI this knowledge is freely available.

I’m looking forward to joining the 25th birthday celebrations in Anaheim this year where I can increase my knowledge again & share my experiences.

Flying?

Outside of my business private flying is my passion, and I wouldn’t be able to afford my own aeroplane without the successful growth in my company that has come through being a BNI member.

As well as my own personal growth through BNI my business has grown significantly since I joined BNI and that’s during a recession that we as members refuse to participate in.

Givers Gain® is the key to my success – I’m able to help members with the training so that they can generate more business and also use the same techniques myself to generate referrals for my fellow chapter members, in return they pass me business and help my company grow.

Joining BNI was definitely the best business decision I’ve ever made.

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