The Empty Chair

The Empty Chair

One of the core principles of BNI is regular and consistent attendance. This isn’t some code of honour or rule of good behaviour – it’s simply because regular and consistent attendance has been shown to be a key way to get more referrals. That’s why it’s one of the most important rules and one point that the Membership Committee monitors the closest. The rules are very clear and this point is set out in bold: Attendance is critical to the group.

Attending every week is a fundamental way to allow those most sort after relationships to develop to begin with and then to strengthen and ultimately mature. Seeing other people every week is an easy way to get to know them quickly.

If you don’t attend every week, as the rules require, you are implicitly telling everybody that you do not fulfil the commitments that you have taken on by agreeing to attend regularly. You are letting everyone down by showing that you are not dependable or reliable. You are telling everyone that you cannot be trusted or relied on.

If you don’t attend, you won’t get to meet any new Visitors to the meeting that week – you will be missing out on a potential source of new contacts, clients and referrals. Members work hard to bring Visitors in the hope that they will be a good opportunity for new contacts for everyone. By not attending, the message is that you don’t care about any of that.

By not attending, people don’t see you and you are less to the forefront of members’ thoughts about getting referrals for you. Out of sight, out of mind. Members will be more reluctant to refer you if you can’t be trusted to be there. These principles can be summarised in three words – Visibility, Credibility and Profitability. Visibility – letting people know who you are. Credibility – letting people know you can be trusted. Profitability – making money from your membership.

The Empty Chair, members, is all people will see if you fail to turn up. Don’t do it. Don’t do it, for your own sake. Woody Allen is famously reported to have said that 80% of success is showing up. BNI takes that message very much to heart. If you snooze, you lose!

The rules…. a member is allowed 3 absences every 6 months. More than this and the member’s seat is subject to being opened to other candidates by the Chapter’s Leadership Team.

If a member cannot attend, you may send a substitute to the meeting. This will not count as an absence. 

We ask that you honour your commitment to attend every breakfast meeting. 

If you feel you have a problem either attending or organising a substitute to attend for you, please contact a member of the leadership team to discuss your plans.