Google+ Hangouts: Great Networking Tool for BNI!

Mar 18, 2013Archives

Charles SandorOK, as I write this we are in the middle of a major snow storm here in Oakville, Ontario. I guess being stuck indoors means no face to face networking or business meetings, right?


As the blizzard raged and the roads were impassable, I decided to hold a face to face meeting with 4 of my fellow members from my BNI chapter – The Business Builders of Brampton, Ontario.

I just logged into my Google+ account and started a “Hangout” and invited them to join me. We had a terrific meeting and accomplished a lot.

We were able to network face to face during a blizzard while separated by many miles. It was so easy and you, my fellow BNI’er will love this tool which allowed us to do this.

So what is a Hangout and why would it be a great tool for any BNI chapter? It is the ability to meet, network and dialogue online via video. Oh, and its free!

How can it be used by your chapter?

  • You can hold public or private meetings online with up to 10 people. Great for Power Team meetings when everyone can’t get together physically at one location.
  • In a public hangout, any number of people can “drop in” and watch. Great for BNI presentations if you want to expand the presentation beyond just your chapter members.
  • Public hangouts can be broadcast live on YouTube and also saved for future use as well. Also great for presentations if you want to record and save them for distribution online on your website or blog and other social media platforms.
  • A chapter could conduct their meetings “live” for anyone to drop in and view. Make your Visitor’s day more exciting and a “Must See” event by making it a live broadcast.
  • Create a chapter / BNI testimonials video to showcase just how beneficial your chapter is to business owners.
  • Online BBI’s, another great option. Email each other your BBI worksheets ahead of time and then just “Hangout” and conduct a BBI as if you were actually face to face………which in a sense you are!
  • You can also educate / mentor / tutor new and existing members with the screenshot feature. This turns the video view from you to your desktop view. You can create tutorial videos, hold webinars and even collaborate and edit documents or build presentations together online with Google Drive.
  • BNI members can hold online panel discussions on any topical business subject and have any number of viewers watching. A great way to market yourself and your business knowledge or as a panel, discuss the benefits each panelist has received as a BNI member. Broadcast the discussion live and save it on YouTube. Great promo video for your chapter that you can email to prospective visitors / members.

HangoutPanelI would urge BNI’ers to check out this great feature of Google+. With my own chapter, we have continuously expanded our networking horizons by being the leading chapter in our region in terms of online networking and this attitude has reaped our chapter many benefits.

In 2012 my chapter received the BNI Chapter of the Year Award for our region – The Golden Horseshoe in Ontario Canada.

A large amount of credit goes to our chapter members who embrace technology and expand networking beyond just a weekly BNI meeting and into cyberspace itself.

Our chapter is heavily involved in social media. We have a chapter website and blog. The chapter is featured with each member’s business profile on Facebook and on LinkedIn Company pages. We have a chapter YouTube Channel to feature video playlists for our various members.

My Power Team – The Compass Business Group also has a websiteFacebook site and LinkedIn Company page.

In this day and age a great recruiting tool to expand your chapter is how you use and embrace technology. The traditional methodology and ideals of BNI networking and “Givers Gain” continue to serve BNI members extremely well and this new technology can never replace face to face networking, but it certainly makes for an incredible and robust tool in support of all the best that BNI has always traditionally offered.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about online networking. As an 8 year dedicated networker, I am always happy to help out a fellow BNI’er.

All the best – Charles Sandor is a web designer and social media developer living in Oakville, Ontario, Canada. He is a long standing member of the BNI Business Builders Referral Networking Chapter Source:

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