There’s a small habit that seems to creep into every Chapter at some stage or another. With the best of intentions, members sooner or later start to “thank the speaker” during the Referrals and Testimonials (often called the “I Have”) section. Is this the best way to give a fellow Chapter member recognition though?
What do you “Have” for the “I Have” section?
As we go around the room and multiple people are thanking the speaker or telling them they did a “great presentation”, the comment devalues slightly each time it’s repeated. This results in members saying something that is of no value. It also devalues the whole “I Have” section.
The “I Have” section is our moment to shine. This is where we celebrate the wins we have had in seeking out referrals for our fellow Chapter members during the week, or weeks, depending on how hard we worked to secure it. Recognition is one of BNI’s core values, and if we’ve worked hard on a referral, we deserve the recognition. Naming the prospect and briefly describing how we identified and qualified their need for our fellow member’s services makes the referral process more tangible and credible in the visitors’ minds.
But when visitors repeatedly hear comments of ever-decreasing value, they tune out, and the impact of valuable contributions get completely lost in the haze of white noise.
What if “I Have” nothing?
Most Chapters clearly define what they deem appropriate to say during the “I Have” section. Announcing referrals and visitors. If you don’t have a referral or visitor to announce, then a testimonial for another member, or for BNI itself, is the recommended alternative. Unlike repetitive thanking of the speaker, a genuine and specific testimonial is very valuable indeed.
Some Chapters go further with this and insist that any Member who does give a testimonial also provides a written copy of their testimonial on letterhead for the relevant member, and the Chapter’s testimonial folder.