“I like to move-it move-it” said the money, as it jumped into my wallet. The sound was heard all through the Vodaworld auditorium which contained the BNI National Conference. A gathering of like-minded individuals: givers, gainers, movers, shakers and money makers. A who’s who of networking, all together for one purpose: to find out who’s who in the who’s who.
The one-to-one meeting: the BNI methodology foundation. Countless of these meetings were performed that day. It’s a testament to the tenacity of the BNI members present that even with such a high calibre of presentations there could still be heard a rustle and a murmur as members learned about each other’s business from those next to whom they were seated. Our hilarious host Jeremy Dannheisser facilitated the process perfectly. He also encouraged us to live tweet the event, and our tweets reached millions of people. Many attendees uploaded photos of the event to their accounts, some of which are featured in this article.
While the members educated themselves, we were at the same time being educated by the likes of Paul Du Preez, An MBA (massive bank account) educated gentleman with a strong voice and even stronger principles. Paul shared his wisdom about the value of risk, the necessity of tenacity and the even greater value of education. He left us with a succinct, potent and powerful one liner that most of us will remember for years to come: “you’ve got to learn more, to earn more.”
Hirsch’s and DeLongi were kind enough to sponsor us coffee for the day. Of course there was quite a queue to collect. However, this was by design. Countless one-to-ones were conducted in that line. After all, it’s not a queue, it’s a networking opportunity.
After Paul Du Preez we were fortunate enough to be addressed by none other than the CEO of BNI international himself – Graham Weihmiller. Joining us all the way from the USA, Graham shared with us his enlightened view of the BNI ethos, and the power of the givers gain. He also shared some interesting information about our benevolent founder, Dr Ivan Misner. He was more than successful in conveying his message of the power of trust in business, but unfortunately he was unable to take part in our time honoured South African tradition, and “Buy a donkey.”
In between each of the presentations came a break, and while most people would have wished for the fascinating presentations to go on for even longer, at the BNI conference people were itching to get up and go visit the displays of the various BNI chapters. More cards changed hands that day than at an international poker match.
Next on the line was the wonderful, self-styled German with the English name Kevin Barber. A true altruistic entrepreneur, Kevin let us in on the secrets of some special sorcery – the magic of connect 5. Kevin is a true philanthropic entrepreneur, and a shining example of how giving back to one’s community can bring both spiritual rewards and business gains.
The star of the show, world-class economist and communism fundi Dawie Roodt gave us some great insights into the current state of the global economy, and even more importantly, how the South African economy fits into the picture. He expanded on his beliefs about and faith in South Africa, and provided some investment advice for the economically inclined. One particularly valuable piece of advice was to invest at least a quarter of your capital offshore, with a good option right now being the US dollar. You know someone has good ideas when he has a sold out book.
Francois Muscat, a baby boomer social media socialite, provided some much needed advice on social media for business. Among the many gems he dropped was “If you want people to talk about you, talk about them first” which was so truly in keeping with the BNI givers gain mindset. You should definitely follow him on twitter @francoismuscat to see more of his social media savvy.
Our final speaker Claudia Lowry made us think about ourselves and our personalities. As the old saying goes, to know others is to be wise; to know oneself is to be enlightened, and much knowledge of the inner workings of our humanity were revealed In colourful detail. Are you open or are you guarded? Direct or indirect? Many of us might never have asked ourselves these questions before, but Claudia made sure that each of us left the conference knowing more about what makes us tick.
Overall the conference was a booming success. Everything from internet marketing to 3D printing was represented. Givers gave and gained in equal measure, and the fun atmosphere, friendly vibes and general goodwill made us all feel right at home with our BNI friends. If you’ve enjoyed this article, visit our website www.internetdominance.co.za to find out how you could get one to promote your own business or event. Subscribe to our mailing list and stay connected with the latest business and marketing news.