BNI is big. It's a worldwide organisation with branches in many countries including Ireland. It was founded by Ivan Misner (chairman) who's here now in the Clontarf Castle Hotel in Dublin. He's keynote speaker today.
I'm a Visitor to BNI Ireland Conference today. I know many members of BNI in Cork city & during the last year they've given me great help with my business. This includes lots of moral support during the ups & downs of keeping going during tough times in a damaged economy. I count some BNI members among my best business friends.
So it's good to see at close quarters what Ivan Misner has sparked.
There are about 100 delegates here - the conference registration for Visitors is at 11.00. The theme is "Networking Like a Pro" - and this is the 25th anniversary of BNI.
Rob Brown came to Cork a few months ago and spoke on "Reputation Management" to a BNI breakfast at Rochestown Park Hotel. He's here today to speak. He also spent three hours with Irish BNI leaders yesterday. I met Rob briefly after his Cork bash. Yesterday I wrote a testimonial for him. I'm sure he won't mind me sharing it.
"It's three months since I first heard Rob Brown speak to a crowded hotel room in Cork Ireland. Usually, after that long, I'd have forgotten the speaker. Maybe some of their ideas would have stuck - but the personality behind the words would have faded.
Rob Brown walked from the back of the room, right up the centre. His voice strong and punchy, his words arresting - by the time I saw him pass me I was hooked. I've heard many good speakers in a long life of listening to corporate voices. Rob is up there with the really good ones.
The man was a bundle of energy, a powerhouse of content, a confidence that infected me. Rob Brown gave the BNI audience so much content on "Reputation Management" that I felt I needed nothing more for the next few years. There was so much compressed experience in his presentation, I was almost overwhelmed with the excitement of it all.
But there was something human about Rob Brown - something that made it possible to find my own space and my own decisions on priorities. I came away well able to decide for myself how I would grow my reputation in a sensible way.
I'd go back to Rob Brown again. Next time I'd want to hear him on another topic because his style suited me - and it's still vivid after much competition from other interests."
Brian Moore is also speaking here today. I've met Brian a couple of times at BNI meetings when I was "subbing" for a BNI member. He lives in Limerick and is a trainer with the Referral Institute. I wonder what he'll be talking about today? You can follow him on Twitter @brianmoore007.