By Nellie Nutting
I used to think I was a patient person. Then I had my second child! Put two siblings in a small space, like a car, and lock them in for a LONG car drive and soon the bickering begins! Our family has spent many hours in the car as we have extended family that we enjoy visiting that live in other states. We would occupy the time with “books on tape” (recordings on cassettes, then CDs later on) or games of “I Spy” or “20 Questions.” Eventually these activities would no longer be enough for the kids, and the touch or the smell or the look of the other would cause World War 3 to break out in the back seat! These were the times I wished I was the driver, but normally the car discipline was mine to handle. The angry mama bear was sometimes sighted as my temperature would raise in proportion to my voice! Patience, they say, is a virtue, but definitely one you should never ask for. If you do, you are sure to be given lots of practice.
Speaking of patience and long car drives, in my current position in BNI I spend a lot of time in the car traveling around the state of Wyoming, visiting chapters. Instead of books on tape, I often listen to audio books and podcasts. Some of my favorites are the Official BNI Podcast, the BNI Heartland Podcast, and the Power of One Podcast. If you have spent any time on Wyoming roadways, you are familiar with the lack of radio stations. These podcasts and audio books have been a savior and kept me company for many hours. The lessons I have learned through them I often bring to you in the form of an education piece or in a blog like this one. This month, I thought I would talk about a topic near and dear to me - relationships.
Relationships take time. If only I could take someone with me each time I travel, then I could spend the time needed to build a deep relationship - one of trust - one I‘d be confident to refer to. In some of these podcasts I learned specifics of the time it takes to build a friendship. For example, it takes about 50 hours of interaction with a person to feel comfortable around them. It takes 90 hours with the same person to become friends. It takes a full 200 hours to build a close friendship. If you apply this to your chapter relationships we only meet 50ish meetings in a year. If you spend the open network time effectively meeting and getting to know just one member, you will have accumulated about 12 hours - not even enough time to get comfortable with that person! One to Ones are part of our BNI system and they are relationship builders. During an effective One to One, we can build not only a base knowledge of our chapter member, but learn how to effectively refer them, as well as begin to build trust.
As you think about the tools you have in your toolbox as part of your BNI membership, take the time to reflect on the level of relationship you have with each member of your chapter. Then make a plan to increase the relationship by giving of yourself and your time. The return on investment may be the most profitable one you have over the next year and beyond, and one that just keeps giving back. If you are new to podcasts, I would like to recommend a couple to get you started: From the Official BNI Podcast, listen to Episodes 576 and 589. Not only will they get you CEUs for the week, they might help keep the kids from fighting in the back seat!