Build relationships based on giving.
The power of recognition.
Having witnessed the superficial nature of traditional award systems in the advertising industry, Swills was drawn to BNI’s genuine appreciation and recognition of members’ efforts. Within BNI, achievements are acknowledged at all levels, fostering personal growth and providing a supportive environment for members to succeed. Swills finds great joy in witnessing the pride and sense of accomplishment that comes from being recognised within the BNI community.
“In the advertising world, where winning awards was a KPI, I hated the idea of jumping through hoops to win awards that, in the scheme of things, meant absolutely nothing other than glorifying someone else’s business.
“In BNI, it’s a completely different story. We recognise achievements at all levels and strive to help our members succeed in their business and through personal growth.
“Seeing someone who’s never won anything in their life before recognised for their efforts in front of their fellow members, and their absolute pride and sense of achievement, is something I never tire of.”
A community of support.
When Swills started his business after being retrenched, he initially relied on his reputation within advertising circles to secure work. His contacts diminished over time, and he realised the need for a new source of referrals. At this crucial juncture, his wife, Jo, invited him to a BNI meeting. While his first experience didn’t resonate, Swills attended another meeting five years later and knew within ten minutes of being in the room that this was the networking group for him.
It starts with relationships.
Unlike other networking events, where fleeting connections are the norm, BNI provides a framework that fosters genuine relationships and trust. Through BNI, members have the opportunity to engage with one another consistently, leading to the formation of strong bonds.
“The system we follow in BNI allows us to engage and follow a structure that essentially creates a bond. That bond can become a respected (and profitable) referral source.”
Swills believes the key to effective networking is being authentic and genuinely interested in others. He advises people not to sell themselves but rather to approach networking as a way to build relationships by being both interesting and interested.
Swills also advises people to find a BNI group that aligns best with their values to elevate their networking efforts.
“If you want to grow your business, you need good referral partners. BNI provides an opportunity to connect and work with a like-minded community of professional businesspeople. Culture is everything, so come along and visit a chapter or two until you find a group you gel with. Don’t go looking to see what you can get out of it; look how you might be able to help others.”
Adopting a giving mindset
“I’ve always believed that helping others in any way I can earns respect — both personally and professionally.”
As a member and Ambassador, Swills engages with other members across various chapters, gaining valuable insights into their businesses and goals. Armed with this knowledge, he actively seeks opportunities to connect members and facilitate referral partnerships, enabling personal and business growth for all involved. Swills’ experience highlights the remarkable power of Givers Gain and its potential to unlock new levels of personal and professional success.
“What I love about Giver’s Gain is that once you realise how powerful it is, you will grow in ways you’ve probably never considered.”