Exclusive memberships of Canberra’s networking groups?

johnboy 21 May 2009 43

I hear there are around 90 networking groups in Canberra. That doesn’t even include the service clubs where the real business muscle hangs out and the really smoky rooms which don’t even have names on them.

But in an interesting move Schmooze have recently turfed out a member of BNI, apparently for fear of the BNI culture.

Here’s the text of the email she received:

    After much consideration and feedback from members, I’ve come to the conclusion that including members BNI within the Schmooze network is not a compatible mix.

    It is very clear the philosophy of the two groups are polar opposites, with the assertive BNI form of networking and the active sourcing leads for other members for your group: this is at odds with the atmosphere and style that we aim to create at Schmooze.

    Members come to Schmooze because its NOT at BNI type model and to that end, I regret we can no longer accept as a members of Schmooze those people who are active members of BNI.

    Essentially, it has become evident to me and other members that members of BNI first loyalty is to their group- which is understandable given the model- but it is my obligation to the other members to ensure the health of the environment of what’s been created at Schmooze, and to ensure they experience the form of networking they’ve signed on for.

    We have updated our policies and membership information to specify that members of BNI will not be accepted as members or guests at our events.

    To that end you, you’ll be paid a pro rata refund for the remaining period of your membership this week, you just need provide your EFT details, or I can make a PayPal refund. Your membership will expire in July, so you’ll receive a refund of $30 ($15 per month remaining).

    Let me stress this is about a cultural incompatibility between our two groups and so whilst I’m sure you’ll be disappointed, I hope you understand.

    Sincerely

Fair enough? Or discriminatory?


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43 Responses to Exclusive memberships of Canberra’s networking groups?
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Ivan76 Ivan76 6:44 pm 25 May 09

I was a member of BNI for a year or so & found them all to be pretentious snobs at the Belconnen (Thursday morning at the cafe) group that made me want to vommit each time a member spoke.

The Burleigh Griffin group however seemed a lot more professional and showed a genuine interest to others in the group.

I have never heard of Schmooze before but I would suggest it was created by someone as an alternative networking group to the nose in the sky culture at BNI.

My advise to business owners – Take the probationary free membership from BNI and use it whilst pretending that you really want to pay (some rediculous fee) to join. Once you have used up your free time then go & have a look at Schmooze – Ill bet they’re cheaper.

astrojax astrojax 10:52 pm 22 May 09

that was my point – i did say ‘some’ bn members; presumably these were also schmooze members. shoddy, all round. i’ll not be back.

harvyk1 harvyk1 2:28 pm 22 May 09

Actually astrojax, it should be the Schmooze members who didn’t want to fit with with the Schmooze culture should have been asked to leave, not a blanket ban on all BNI members.

astrojax astrojax 9:24 am 22 May 09

this is sad tidings. seems a bit of a low rent and shoddy move by phillip; particularly sad and shoddy the non-bn members excluded. but it also sounds like some bn members ought to have had more sensitivity for which networking group function they were attending.

just ’cause you play rugby doesn’t mean you tackle people outside the game.

johnny_the_knife johnny_the_knife 8:34 am 22 May 09

MWF said :

LMFAO!

A couple of who gives a shit, unknown “lets develop and help eachother” online groups for Gen Y Canberrens to suck up to other Gen Y’s in Canberra.

I would suggest you do a little more research before you decide to post such comments. I strongly dispute your assertion that BNI and/or Schmooze are aimed at Gen Y. Within my BNI chapter which has around 25 members, there are two people who would fit into the age boundaries of Generation Y. While Schmooze does appear have a younger demographic than BNI, there are plenty of members of Gen X who participate, and I would hazard a guess they outnumber Gen ‘Y’ers. According to the ABS, more than two thirds of business operators are aged between 25 and 55, so it’s not surprising to see a similar age grouping at business networking events.

Furthermore, while both BNI and Schmooze have web sites, they are not online groups as you have stated. BNI holds weekly breakfast meetings at various locations around Canberra, while Schmooze has at least one monthly function, normally in the evening.

If you would like to learn more about BNI, I would encourage you to come along to a meeting as a guest, you would be more than welcome at any of the Canberra chapters. I’m not sure if you’d be welcome at Schmooze, it seems that really depends on the whims of the proprietor.

Since the majority of participants in BNI and Schmooze are note members of Gen Y, I don’t see how the ACT Governments Gen Y Community is relevant to this debate.

(Sorry about the double post, quote tool didn’t want to play)

johnny_the_knife johnny_the_knife 8:32 am 22 May 09

MWF said :

LMFAO!

A couple of who gives a shit, unknown “lets develop and help eachother” online groups for Gen Y Canberrens to suck up to other Gen Y’s in Canberra.

I would suggest you do a little more research before you decide to post such comments. I strongly dispute your assertion that BNI and/or Schmooze are aimed at Gen Y. Within my BNI chapter which has around 25 members, there are two people who would fit into the age boundaries of Generation Y. While Schmooze does appear have a younger demographic than BNI, there are plenty of members of Gen X who participate, and I would hazard a guess they outnumber Gen ‘Y’ers. According to the ABS, more than two thirds of business operators are aged between 25 and 55, so it’s not surprising to see a similar age grouping at business networking events.

Furthermore, while both BNI and Schmooze have web sites, they are not online groups as you have stated. BNI holds weekly breakfast meetings at various locations around Canberra, while Schmooze has at least one monthly function, normally in the evening.

If you would like to learn more about BNI, I would encourage you to come along to a meeting as a guest, you would be more than welcome at any of the Canberra chapters. I’m not sure if you’d be welcome at Schmooze, it seems that really depends on the whims of the proprietor.

Since the majority of participants in BNI and Schmooze are note members of Gen Y, I don’t see how the ACT Governments Gen Y Community is relevant to this debate.

harvyk1 harvyk1 8:21 am 22 May 09

Thumper said :

Does anyone else find it weird that these people have a strange little club whereby they try to use everyone they meet, even friends?

The idea of both BNI (and I thought Schmooze) was that they are business networking groups. The idea was that you generated business from them. Now every so oftan I run into friends at these things, and every so oftan someone who I met at these things becomes a friend. But first and foremost these are meant to be a place where business deals are struck.

harvyk1 harvyk1 8:18 am 22 May 09

MWF – who said this is a Gen Y thing? Infact Gen Y is grossly under represented in both BNI and Schmooze.

Also Johnny_The_Knife – In my 15 months of attending schmooze, I’d say Travel agents and recruiters where under represented as well. Infact I’d only ever come across one Travel agent and one recruitment company, and I met them both in this year! But as you say they are both groups of people who are known to be good networkers.

Thumper Thumper 8:11 am 22 May 09

Does anyone else find it weird that these people have a strange little club whereby they try to use everyone they meet, even friends?

MWF MWF 11:38 pm 21 May 09

LMFAO!

A couple of who gives a shit, unknown “lets develop and help eachother” online groups for Gen Y Canberrens to suck up to other Gen Y’s in Canberra.

Grow up and take your shit fights to another arena. The ACT Govt has recently started a specific Gen Y “community”. Publicly funded, they meet once a month or so. Ask your pals who work for the ACT Govt for an invite.

Perhaps you will get some free alcohol and food.

Spam Box Spam Box 9:37 pm 21 May 09

***Canberra is a very small place, and that BNI members are experts at talking to people.***

Hmmm, theres a few ways that could be taken and some of them aren’t good

LaLa LaLa 9:04 pm 21 May 09

Part of my job is networking but I don’t need to join a club to do it. Sounds painful to me.

Nambucco Deliria Nambucco Deliria 8:10 pm 21 May 09

Do either of these networks employ a ‘club handshake’?

Jean Mc Jean Mc 7:12 pm 21 May 09

As a former member of BNI who has been ousted from Schmooze I’d like to know where I stand. Have I been ousted because of a membership that I don’t have (they didn’t know I’d left) or because I’ve been tainted with the BNI philosophy of using networking to build relationships that generate business. (Hang on, isn’t that the Schmooze philosophy?).

Are they ousting people because of their associations or their philosophy. Am I never to be allowed in Schmooze again because I want to appropriate my scarce time according to the return I’m likely to get for my business.

Even though I’ve left BNI – I would still support it because I’ve developed some of the most valuable relationships I have with people there. Not only referral relationships but mentors, suppliers and in some case friends.

I can see how this would be diametrically opposed to the Schmooze philosophy.

Granny Granny 6:21 pm 21 May 09

Bingo! Kind of like the ‘Canberra Goss’ of networking, really.

PM PM 6:11 pm 21 May 09

I-filed said :

“n addition, we also offer a unique service – the Schmooze Concierge Service. All you need to do is contact us prior to an event with your request or who you’d like to meet and at the event one of the Schmooze team will make the introduction for you discreetly and then the rest is up to you. We also provide a discreet professional intermediary service where we can cultivate contacts on your behalf, such as personally inviting members to special presentations you host. A consultancy fee applies for service.”

Now it sounds more like an escort service…!

I-filed I-filed 6:07 pm 21 May 09

“n addition, we also offer a unique service – the Schmooze Concierge Service. All you need to do is contact us prior to an event with your request or who you’d like to meet and at the event one of the Schmooze team will make the introduction for you discreetly and then the rest is up to you. We also provide a discreet professional intermediary service where we can cultivate contacts on your behalf, such as personally inviting members to special presentations you host. A consultancy fee applies for service.”

Huh? A networking club where people don’t introduce themselves to each other?

weeziepops weeziepops 6:04 pm 21 May 09

Mostly the TS

PM PM 6:00 pm 21 May 09

The turkey slap, the conducting of business with friends, or both?

weeziepops weeziepops 5:50 pm 21 May 09

Sounds like the Free-masons of yester-year…

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