• Sundeep Bhatia

Business Networking the Indian Way

I have always been taught that BNI,Business Networking International,is an international phenomena operating in more than sixty countries worldwide.

A trip to India gave me the perfect opportunity to check this for myself.

Nishant Jain, member of the Gurgaon Chapter,Incredibles,emailed me stating that he was looking for Travel Agent connections because he was about to visit the United Kingdom.

I,in return,explained that I was in Delhi and would love to visit his Chapter.

He agreed and sent me an invite .

Gurgaon is immediately adjacent to the part of Delhi I was staying in so visiting that Chapter was convenient.

A quick search of the website revealed that BNI Incredibles has around forty members.

By Indian standards it is a smaller Chapter.When I attended I was informed that there were adjacent chapters with 80 members.

I was also aware of a Chapter in Bangalore with 108 members.

BNI in India starts later than it does in the UK.

Thus I was asked to attend at 7.30pm for an 8pm start.

The venue was a very presentable four star hotel called Clarins.

There was no signage at the entrance but a receptionist pointed me in the rIght direction and two members joined me in the lift.

Once I exited the lift I was immediately greeted by the visitor hosts who welcomed and signed me in in the usual BNI way.

At that point I could have been at any BNI Chapter in the world.

The Incredibles Members were great hosts.

Several Members came to speak to me and I was never left feeling isolated or like an outsider.

The meeting started promptly at 8pm.

The word Chapter was not used.

Members were greeted with the refrain “Good morning BNI.”

All of the roles ,and who fills them ,were explained as in all BNI Chapters.

The education slot was filled by a Dr Amit Nagpal who discussed the Chapter’s Social Media strategy.

Members were then given 30 seconds to speak about their business.

This was different from the sixty seconds given at Stadium Chapter Wembley where I am a Member.

Moreover members started their presentations by asking for a “give”.

This was an alien concept to me so,after the meeting,I asked one of the members what that meant.

They explained that a “give “was an offer to put members in touch with the person referred to as a give.

My feeling was that,after mentioning the give,members had too little time to inform members as to what they did and how they could offer value.

There then followed the induction of a new member.

I was honoured to be called up to greet the new member .

A nice touch was that the cv of the new member was read out to the rest of the Chapter.

Instead of a ten minute presentation there were two four minute presentations. I learnt a lot about Sante Fe removal services from Vani Gehani and I also learnt a lot about business travel from Ravi Singh of “I shall holiday” (P) Ltd.

Both speaks referred to five “gives” as well as five asks.

Following the meeting I sat in on the induction which was the same as in the UK.

I then had breakfast with the rest of the members.

That was a joyous experience.

The breakfast was lavish and the company was great.

It was easy to see how the rapour between the members had developed.

My thanks to Arvinder Singh and Kiran Ashri of the leadership team for making me feel so welcome and to Monika Gulati for guiding me through the meeting .

#BNI

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