I have just returned from a very inspirational day at the BNI Annual Conference held at the Magna Science Adventure Centre in Sheffield. A very well organised event for business owners with plenty of opportunity for networking, the event exceeded my expectations with quality speakers who really got everybody motivated at a time when the economy is quite suppressed. With several hundred attendees it is somewhat difficult to identify who to network with, but for the most part the people who I spoke to were enthusiastic to find out about me and my business, and similarly I found it interesting to hear about their businesses.
Speakers for this years event were Geoff Liberman, Penny Power, Andy Bounds, and Allan Pease. Geoff Liberman is a motivational speaker believing that fun leads to success encouraging you to step outside of your comfort zone, and make something that feels uncomfortable to feel comfortable. Focus on your goals, believe in yourself, and do things that others are uncomfortable doing.
Penny Power talked about the future of social networking in order to grow your business. A joint founder of ‘Ecademy‘, a business online social networking site for business owners, she believes that nothing replaces face-to-face contact, but online social networking adds another facet to get referrals. It helps turn strangers into friends, who can then become profitable relationships. Online social networking helps you keep in touch with everyone you meet, and share knowledge to your network.
Andy Bounds is the writer of ‘The Jelly Effect’, a book about how to make your communication stick. Speaking very enthusiastically about having the right mindset, speaking to the right people, and saying the right things, and how working on these three things helps to make your what you have to say remembered by the people you talk to. Focusing on your ‘Afters’ as opposed to what you do as a business will help people not only understand what you do, but will also lead to increased sales.
Allan Pease really got everyone laughing with his very animated approach to body language. Writer of several number one best selling books including “Why men don’t listen, and why women can’t read maps” and “Why men don’t have a clue and women need more shoes”, he talked about hand gestures and body language and how to tell the signs of whether someone you are talking to is interested in what you are saying. He also talked about the difference between men and women and the way each communicates. It was an interesting and very funny speech. If you were to ever get the opportunity to listen to him I would recommend making the effort to. In fact if you ever have the opportunity to listen to any of the speakers above you will not be disappointed. All were extremely interesting and well worth taking the time out of a business day to do so.
The BNI organisers have done a great job pulling together this event and I am pleased to have been able to attend. Anyone who missed it missed out BIG TIME.
Next year’s event is scheduled for the 10 June 2010.