In the past few weeks I have finally started to meet with some of our chapter members again for a BBI. It’s been a while for me, mostly because of being overwhelmed with too much work and too much stress. I have recently met with Stefan, Bart, Michael, Augie, Allie and Mo.
Before, during and after those BBI’s I was often thinking about the most efficient and effective way to accomplish the dual goals of learning more about the person I met with, while also sharing key information about myself. The purpose of course being, to exchange information with each other and to come to know each other better, to be able to confidently refer each other’s work and business.
My conclusion? It really is kind of an interrogation!
I know BNI has a strict protocol about how to conduct a BBI. There are forms to be completed, specific questions to be asked and for it to be considered a successful BBI you need to accomplish certain results. Just in case you have forgotten, BBI stands for Business Building Interview. It’s a bit awkward, don’t you think?
I am such a free spirit, I love being a rebel, I often avoid following the rules set by others. I think the purpose of a BBI is to come to know your BBI partner better and to learn as much as possible about their feelings, their motivations, their MO, Mode of Operation. With the ultimate goal of building trust. If you know and trust someone, it is a lot easier to refer that person.
Now about my provocative statement, a BBI is an interrogation. This is what Wikepedia calls it:
Interrogation (also called questioning) is interviewing as commonly employed by law enforcement officers, military personnel, and intelligence agencies with the goal of eliciting useful information. Interrogation may involve a diverse array of techniques, ranging from developing a rapport with the subject, to outright torture.
Much of that applies to BBI’s, but maybe not the torture part.
My technique…..I ask direct, sometimes probing or even uncomfortable questions. My very direct Dutch nature takes over from my polite Canadian self. Often, the result is that people open up and share things they often only share with those closest to them.
In my recent BBI’s, Allie shared confidential information with me, Augie and I bitched about some of our respective clients, I told Mo things about myself I usually only share with my wife. With Michael I was a bit more careful in asking probing questions. After all, I was at a disadvantage. I was lying on my stomach while he was sticking needles in my butt!
My point is this: With all of these recent BBI’s I came away trusting my BBI partner more than I did before, giving me additional confidence to refer them.
Here is my edited version of the Wikepedia definition of an interrogation:
Interrogation (also called questioning) is interviewing as commonly employed by BNI Chapter members with the goal of eliciting useful information. Interrogation may involve a diverse array of techniques, ranging from developing a rapport with the subject, to sticking needles in your butt.