This year has been a game of three halves. We started in lockdown and with zoom, by the end of the year we finally broke out and in October resumed our live meetings, initially at Hutton Cricket Club where we were for 4 weeks and then back to Calcott Hall Farm.
Then came omicron that made us break early for Christmas and we resumed our meetings via zoom until 4 weeks ago, again at Hutton Cricket Club initially and now once again, here at Calcott.
The Zoom experience
Zoom provided an essential lifeline to us and also an interesting departure from the physical meeting. I found it harder work as chairman but for many of you, the lack of interreaction between us all during the meeting made it very much second best
We learned a lot about mutual support during difficult times. The 1-2-1 became a frontline tool in maintaining contact. The recruitment of members was maintained with a couple of visitors mornings and provided invaluable new blood. The new members joining during lockdown, our baby Zoomers stayed the course and I am pleased to say have embraced live meetings even although they have to get up earlier and travel.
When we moved into our second lockdown, the meeting was slightly revamped to address those parts of the meeting that were not working at zoom level. The 10-minute presentation did not involve enough people and the referrals round was too cumbersome. An extended 60 seconds and a Q&A session served to give everyone more airtime.
I hope that now we are out of lockdown this will be the case for the foreseeable future.
Other downsides of lockdown included an inevitable drop off in business for many of us and for the group as a whole.
By contrast the website, as always superbly managed by Scott Griffiths, came into its own and reminded us of how its use and content are front and centre of our groups operation.
Recording business given and received is now a matter of electronic recording which is now with us going forward. Remember good recording is an essential tool in the advancement of EBF.
So now we are back with live meetings and we look forward to a virus free year. If that is the frying pan that we are now out of we are now into the fire of an International crisis that is Ukraine with the attendant prospect of inflation and uncertainty in our business world. As with the pandemic, there will be winners and there will be losers.
AND that is why this year’s review as such will stop here. I am not intending to rehearse our further comings and goings over the past months. For our sanity, mental health if you prefer, the onus is on us to move forward and cast our eyes forward both as individual businesses and as a group.
So what are we?
We are a business referral group, not a business meeting group. Dare I refer you to BNIs original slogan, “ Givers Gain”. This still sums up what we are about and what we must be going forward. As individuals we must focus on giving referrals to each other promoting each other’s business. If we do that successfully we will all gain
I think we are all recognising our enjoyment of the of the physical meeting and what we lost when we were not actually meeting each other
The referrals round
This is clearly a very important part of the meeting. Which is when the 10-minute presenter gets a chance to be in the spotlight a little longer. We focus on the actual passing of those pieces of paper with all the tangible manifestations of giving and gaining. We give testimonials where testimonial is due and the meeting comes to an end after these acts of affirmation and reaffirmation
Make your attendance at the meeting your weekly goal. Block out Thursday mornings in your diary, the exception only should take you away. We have more than 30 members. 20 should not be an acceptable attendance level. We are all losing from this
Contributors can always produce something more philosophical like how a brick in the cistern saves water when you flush, but as a starting point we must use it to explore ways of improving EBF performance and EBF generally. This rather than general more esoteric areas of business.
Recruitment is as important as performance. We are fortunate that EBF have a good core of members, but our survival as an effective networking group is partly due to a flow of new members and indeed the prospect of an increased membership which automatically increases the likelihood of more referrals and more business recorded. Visitors’ mornings have been helpful but in reality they are nothing more than a specific focus on the need for us all to be on the look out to invite guests who might be potentially useful members. As well as thinking referrals you should also think potential new members. We should not need specific visitors’ days to attract a regular flow of visitors. Synergy Team meetings can be an opportunity to discuss visitors.
Look at your statistics that have been recently produced. Talk to Scott about this. On an ongoing basis try and improve your performance in the Performance League. It is a clear guide as to how you are performing and if you give a good performance .the other members will gain
A really top notch review Aidan. This really is a good group. I’ve been networking for over 20 years, but have never encountered such a positive bunch of people. Keep up the good work!
A great annual review – accurate and informative, positive and encouraging! well done Aidan.
And congratulations to all the award winners – all very well deserved!
Excellent review Aidan in difficult circumstances- well done very helpful approach to us all the more we give the more we will gain!
Excellent annual review and blog , as one of the new members I continue to be impressed by this well organised and professinal group that continue to work effectively together.
Excellent review of an excellent group!!
Well done Aidan for delivering such a great annual review and well done to all the winners!!
I thought that our chairman’s review was a very well thought through and presented summing up of such a unique year.
Personally, I found that being a part of such an excellent group of people gave me the support that my profession was not getting from anywhere else.
Thank you EBF.
A great review Aidan, very comprehensive.
Enjoyed the summary of what has been but more importantly excited about what is to come. Even in the small number of “live” meetings we’ve had there is a clear lift in the atmosphere and as a result the interaction on a professional and personal level has been a joy to be part of.
Brilliant review of the year Aidan. Having joined the group during lockdown last year it’s been a pleasure meeting and getting to know everyone. Look forward to more face to face meetings each week.
Fantastic review Aidan. Good to be reminded of everything that has gone on in the past year. Well done to all the winners!
Another great meeting m’dears and thanks for the fun and inspiring Annual Review, everyone! My first as a relative newbie! Fab x