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Exclusive memberships of Canberra’s networking groups?

By 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.


Fair enough? Or discriminatory?

What’s Your opinion?

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43 Responses to
Exclusive memberships of Canberra’s networking groups?
p1 5:06 pm 21 May 09

I didn’t know that turkey slapping was a networking style ….

It is in Rugby League….

Too soon?

Granny 5:03 pm 21 May 09

It’s starting to sound a bit like the Geebung Polo Club versus the Cuff and Collar Team …. Hoo hoo!! I’m kind of enjoying this!

I-filed 5:01 pm 21 May 09

“build friendships that turn into business opportunities”

How oily, slippery and ghastly. Who would want to hang out with people who think like this?

Granny 5:00 pm 21 May 09

I didn’t know that turkey slapping was a networking style …. *chuckle* Who knew??

PreciousLilywhite 4:59 pm 21 May 09

BNI is a highly structured, highly organised professional business networking group. Their agenda is very clear; you join the group and you’re expected to help other members drum up business (through referrals) and in return expect the same. They mostly have breakfast meetings lasting an hour, very formal. I went to a meeting once; it wasn’t for me.
Schmooze…well…I can totally understand why they would want to protect their very fragile environment *fart*. They like to stand around, sipping on cheap chardonnay and stroking each others egos. Most are middle management, public service, pink shirt wearing yuppies who think they’re very important, HR types or IT company sales executives.
What’s their agenda? Meeting people now who may randomly assist you in the future/Safety in numbers.

harvyk1 4:52 pm 21 May 09

PM said :

(short of a turkey slap)

Whoops, that was my mistake, sorry about that guys (my fellow BNI members)

harvyk1 4:51 pm 21 May 09

To answer your questions, BNI is a networking group (nothing at all like Amway) where local businesses meet and exchange referrals. Typically referrals go beyond family and friends and onto other business relationships.

Schmooze on the other hand is an informal group where people meet, talk, and business may come out of it. Schmooze is more aimed towards “soft networking”, in other words building friendships which turn into business opportunities.

As a member of BNI and until yesterday a member of schmooze, I was most disappointed when I received my email, when I queried the issue with the owner of Schmooze I was given a blanket response stating that they would not go into details, but have consulted with both members and non-members (why would non-members be getting a say?) and that they have decided to remove all BNI members from the Schmooze group.

The thing that really got me annoyed was the suddenness of this (as I had already RSVP’d for the next event next week) and the fact that the owner had removed all BNI members as “friends” from his face book account.

Whilst the last one may seem trivial, it’s almost like a final insult to people that until recently had believe in the owner and their goals.

Whilst it would have been nice to be given the option, even if Schmooze membership was again offered to me, I don’t think I’d take it again. It’s no longer a group I wish to be associated with.

One final thing I want to remind the owner of Schmooze is that whilst yes it is your group, Canberra is a very small place, and that BNI members are experts at talking to people.

PM 4:51 pm 21 May 09

Wow… What sort of networking style (short of a turkey slap) is that bad??

johnboy 4:38 pm 21 May 09

Amway is “network marketing”.

Granny 4:28 pm 21 May 09

Or Ambrotose® ….

AG Canberra 4:08 pm 21 May 09

Isn’t business networking another name for Amway?

johnboy 3:47 pm 21 May 09

colourful sydney racing identity said :

BNI? What’s that?

A Business networking group oddly enough…

Granny 3:46 pm 21 May 09

If you and I are both wondering that, it’s unlikely to affect us much I guess!

; )

colourful sydney rac 3:42 pm 21 May 09

BNI? What’s that?

Granny 3:42 pm 21 May 09

I think you could argue it either way.

On the one hand, what business is it of any group what other groups an individual may choose to belong to?

On the other hand, it could be a bit like an active Motorist Party member wanting to sign up for membership to The Greens.

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