Be More Specific Please!

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Be More Specific Please!

In your next business meeting be more specific please with your referral request!

How many times have you attended a networking event or a BNI chapter meeting and hear your fellow chapter members throw away their valuable time with a nice story, or sharing of a social element related to their business, only to never ask for a specific referral?  Top 10 Ways To Waste Your Time In BNI

A room set up with round tables and people networking.

How many times have you attended a networking event or a BNI chapter meeting and when it’s your turn to share what you do, how you do it, or ask for your next best referral request, you throw that time away with vague language?

A man in a business suit and a woman in business attire networking at tables.

When you have a chapter of 30, 40, 50 or more members, all vying for referrals, those who are laser focused with intentional clarity on business referral request details are typically the ones that hold mindspace with the members. Effective networking requires a lot of discipline and dedication to have intention for effective outcomes.

A woman bending over and writing the word connect in the sand on the beach.

If you are unclear on the specific goals you wish to achieve with your time and the relationships you need to make from networking, you may eventually fall into a category of people who believe networking it doesn’t work.

Networking works, if you work your networking with intention.

A map with pegs on it and string connecting the pegs.

In BNI we teach specificity. Be very specific on the type of company you want an introduction to. Be very specific on the name of the person you wish to connect with.  Know your why.  Understand your ask!

After being involved in BNI for over 20 years and as a trainer of Member Success Program, one pattern I constantly see is this: members attend MSP, learn how to break their business down into small component parts and become very specific in their referral request.

Two men in the back of a room networking.

I notice that usually within three weeks, most new members skip the specificity and start speaking in generalizations. They show up without preparation for each meeting.  They are so swept up by the opportunity to meet new people that they slip into the mindset that meeting people, being pleasant, and being social is enough to build a business by referrals.

Yes, you may get some referrals, but being pleasant isn’t a strategy to carry you through the long haul of really building your business.

A woman on a couch on her phone.

In addition, as people become familiar with one another, the complacency mindset shows up. That shift creates a deeper false belief that simply because people are familiar with who you are that they will understand and remember all the details of your business.  You can also read about

The world with points showing connection.

Need better networking results?  Remember this: Networking works if you always are intentional with your time, effort, energy, and communication.

A woman sitting on a blue chair with an empty chair beside her.

Avoid throwing away your networking time. Show up with intention and clarity by crafting a plan around the people you need to meet and work that plan one week at a time.

Debbra Sweet is a transformational catalyst. She is a trailblazer in universal leadership and entrepreneurial education .

Sweet is a Best Selling Author, Speaker, Trainer, STBI survivor and she blazes the trail leading others to take action for breaking through boundaries; achieving higher goals & creating a scalable, profitable business with peace of mind and R.O.I.

An entrepreneur since the age of 9, she now is the founder of and She has been involved with BNI since 1997 and has been a San Diego Director since 2004. Sweet has distinguished herself by breaking boundaries in body, mind, and business.

Check out this Walker This Way video which explains how bragging can bring you more BNI referrals!

  1. Well said Debbra – I’ve found that the more specific my asks were, the more often they were granted!!

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