Without a doubt, the most valuable agenda item at our weekly meetings is the “Referrals & Testimonials” section (often incorrectly called the “I Have” section). This is where we report on referrals given amongst the membership and also give testimonials to fellow members. This section is made all the more valuable by the fact that it happens in front of our visitors just before the meeting concludes.
When visitors see the business being passed and hear what’s said edifying individual members, it’s very impressive. Based on this section, they may choose to apply for membership with the Chapter. Even if they don’t, it’s easy to see that your Chapter is full of productive and effective professionals which helps them make up their mind if they’re considering using, or referring, the services of anyone in the room.
You would have noticed by now that Presidents keep the contents of the “Referrals & Testimonials” section quite precise. If a member strays from the format and starts talking about topics other than referrals or testimonials, the President’s responsibility is to make that member aware that they need to stick to the designated topics. Your President may respectfully address this then and there, while the member is speaking. But in most cases, they will choose to approach the member individually after the meeting.
So why shouldn’t the President allow for the mention of other topics during this agenda section?
Well, simply put, it’s to maximise the impact this section has.
When we start talking about topics other than referrals and testimonials, we water down the impressiveness of this section. This significantly devalues the section which is the most important part the meeting. We do such a great job of running the sharpest, most efficient and valuable network around, why would we want it to be devalued in such a way?
I’ve heard that some members think we should be announcing 1-2-1’s during the “Referrals & Testimonials” section. But I have to disagree (and so does the founder, Dr Ivan Misner).
The argument generally presented in favour of allowing this this, is that when members can announce the 1-2-1’s they’ve had during the week, they’re more inclined to conduct more of them. There’s actually no evidence at all to back this claim up. On the other hand, it is clear to see when members are announcing 1-2-1’s, that effective testimonials are less utilised.
Giving a testimonial to another member is a great way of contributing to the “Referrals & Testimonials” section, even if you don’t have a referral to give for the week. But when members without referrals to give are allowed to announce 1-2-1’s, the testimonials drop off substantially. And when a visitor is hearing about 1-2-1’s (of which they know nothing about) instead of hearing testimonials, the perceived value of the most important part of the meeting drops substantially too.
To be blunt, announcing 1-2-1’s is just white noise. With so much effort being put into creating a professional networking environment full of quality business professionals, allowing “fluff” is counter-productive and cost members a lot of money.