by Carrie Langston
“A single act of kindness throws out roots in all directions, and the roots spring up and make new trees.” -Amelia Earhart, Aviator/ Author
Have you ever entered a new place where there was no one that you knew, yet felt like you were the most important person in the room because someone there wasted no time in taking you under their wing, making you feel comfortable, welcomed and a part of something? You were Included!
The best BNI meetings I have attended as a visitor, I was so warmly welcomed by the chapters Visitor Hosts and introduced so well to chapter leadership that I did not have time to find a seat until after the open networking was over and the meeting was starting. Those meetings left a memorable mark on me and I have never forgotten those chapters. I have also walked into more BNI meetings than I can count where there was either no Visitor Host that greeted me at all or one that barely said, “Hello”.
No matter whether it is a new visitor, a visitor who has visited before, a sub for a member of that chapter, or a member of another chapter, the duty of the Visitor Host should remain the same. Any and all guests, visitors, subs should be treated as if they are the most prized prospective member that chapter is seeking. Visitors should always feel as if they are the most important person in the room, both during the open networking portion of the meeting as well as during the meeting itself. There are several opportunities throughout the meeting to acknowledge the visitor and spotlight their presence. These opportunities should be taken advantage of. A visitor will never forget how special, important, and valued your chapter made them feel. That feeling will make them come back and make them want to be a part of the wonderful BNI organization and chapter that values not only each individual member but every visitor that walks through the door.
As Vince will tell you, we are ALL Visitor Hosts. So, don’t leave the welcoming and introducing to just the members with that title, Step Up! Take that visitor under your wing. Introduce them to all your members and don’t give them a chance to find a seat until the president of your chapter is calling the meeting to order.