What Can You Do in 60 Seconds (Hint: Its more than you think!)

This weeks Education Slot was delivered by Niall Menzies of Castle Trophies, Stonehaven and delivered  in his own inimitable style. It focused on the importance of the dreaded 60 second slot. Heres what Niall had to say..


I wanted to do an education slot on one of the fundamental parts of a BNI meeting.

Which is what?

Networking at the beginning is important as is your general manner and enthusiasm throughout a meeting.

But one of  the most important part of a BNI meeting as our CD always says, now comes the most important part of the meeting is our 60 seconds.

It’s only a minute, it’s no time at all people say. But 60 seconds can change your life?

The first aeroplane flight took less than minute. After that travel changed forever.

60 seconds changed the life of Gemma Spofforth in 2009.  when she broke the world record backstroke at the world championships in Rome.

Life was never the same again.

So, it’s only a minute, but lets make the most of it.

A good 60 seconds could mean the difference of making that crucial contact or not.

And it only takes a minute to make that life changing business contact. But only if you do it right.

So, how do make sure we make that good impression and get the most out of our one minute?

The great ones aren’t the entertaining ones that make you laugh more, they are good and I suppose if they are memorable then they are a great one, it’s the ones that give you some return on your investment into BNI.

These BNI people know quite a bit about what makes a good minute presentation so here are the BNI ground rules for that life changing event.


Creating Your 60 Seconds Pitch

Ideally your pitch should be between 150-225 words and include:

  • Your name
  • The name of your company
  • Your role within the company
  • What your products/services are as well as target market
  • What value you can create
  • Ask for a referral (name the organisation, the person and their job title if possible. This is pretty crucial. If we are going to help you find that dream contact you gotta tell us who he or she is?

The referral may not be someone from within the room, it is more likely to be someone they know.– put simply network marketing.

Practice your 60 Seconds Pitch

Practice your pitch, record your pitch and see what you sound like – would you want to refer yourself if you heard you speak?  If the answer is no, then go back to the drawing board – you’re not quite there, but don’t practice too hard as you’ll want to sound sincere.  You want to build relationships with people, you want people to trust you and the more genuine you sound during your pitch, the more people will warm to you and want to refer you.

Learn from Your Mistakes

Get up bright and early and you just want to get the pitch out of the way! Everyone in the room was once in your spot, so try not to be too nervous: don’t rush through it – try to relax and speak slowly and clearly.  Once you’ve delivered your pitch, gauge members’ reactions.  Above all else enjoy your moment to show your fellow chapter members what you’re good at.

One thing I think is also important is a good tag line at the end. Something we can remember you by.

  • Just do it? (Nike)
  • It’s the real thing? (Coke)
  • Painting a brighter future for you? (Gj Findlater ;))
  • Don’t leave home without it? (American Express)
  • Building friendship and installing trust? (Kevin Milne)

Quite a group there.

Best one I think has become part of the national language nowadays is It does exactly what it says on the tin. Who did that.

Ronseal quick drying woodstain, started back in 1994.

A good tag line consists of a few words that summarise your business that just spring to mind whenever a member thinks about you. Make it memorable.

So, to recap the fundamentals.

  1. Your Name.
  2. Your Company
  3. What your business does and how it can add value to your needs
  4. Always include your ideal contact
  5. Give us your tag line.

If you want to change your life.

Either practice your swimming or Deliver  that killer 60 seconds


Great advice Niall!




Education Slots

Please see below the rota for education slots to the end of term.

These have been confirmed with members up to the 13th of Nov – thereafter I have allocated slots and topics. Please put the dates in your diaries and let me know if there are any issues.

23rd Oct – Niall Menzies – What makes a good 60 secs

30th Oct – Dave Simpson – Finding referrals

6th Nov – Gareth Findlater – TBC

13th Nov – Andrew Mein – Preparing for your BNI meeting

20th Nov – Heather Morrison – What makes a great 10 min presentation

27th Nov – Kirsty Watson – Inviting/looking after visitors (assuming you’ve done MSP by then!)

3rd Dec – Kevin Milne – Why it’s important to attend BNI training/events

10th Dec – Pam Cradock – Weekly tasks of a BNI member

17th Dec – Fiona Irvine – How to use your BNI membership to grow your business

Resources for your education slot can be found in the Documents area of BNI Connect, listening to BNI podcasts, searching online, or simply from your own knowledge/experience.

If you need any pointers on what to cover, or where to find information, just let me know.


Making A Great First Impression

This weeks Education slot was delivered by Yva Yorston of Boost Business Support and was all about the value of making a good first impression in business. Some great advice in there we can all benefit from!

Making a Great First Impression!

It takes just a quick glance, maybe three seconds, for someone to evaluate you when you meet for the first time. In this time, the other person forms an opinion about you based on your appearance, your body language, your demeanour, your mannerisms, and how you are dressed.

With every new encounter, another person’s impression of you is formed.

First impressions can be nearly impossible to reverse or undo, making these initial encounters extremely important, because they will set the tone for everything that follows.

So, whether they are in your career or social life, it’s important to know how to create a good first impression.

Be on Time

Someone you are meeting for the first time is not interested in your “good excuse” for running late.

Plan to arrive a few minutes early. And allow flexibility for possible delays in traffic or taking a wrong turn.

Arriving early is much better that arriving late and is the first step in creating a great first impression.

Be Yourself, Be at Ease

If you are feeling uncomfortable and on edge, the person you are meeting won’t feel at ease and this will create the wrong impression.

If you are calm and confident, so the other person will feel more at ease, and so have a solid foundation for any future professional relationship.

Present Yourself Appropriately

cartoon_oct07Your physical appearance matters. The person you are meeting for the first time does not know you and your appearance is usually the first thing they have to go on.

You don’t need to look like a model to create a strong and positive first impression.

The key to a good impression is to present yourself appropriately.

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and so the “picture” you first present says much about you to the person you are meeting.

Start with the way you dress. What is the appropriate dress for the meeting or occasion? And what do you want the way you dress to say about you and your business.

And then there’s personal grooming – a clean and tidy appearance is appropriate for most business and social occasions. This includes a good haircut or shave, clean and tidy clothes, appropriate make up and jewellery. Make sure your grooming is appropriate and helps make you feel “the part”.

Appropriate dressing and grooming and feeling “the part” will in turn make you more calm and confident. Combine all this together and you are well on your way to creating a good first impression.

A Word about Individuality

The good news is you can usually create a good impression without total conformity or losing your individuality. To make a good first impression you do need to “fit in” to some degree. But it all goes back to being appropriate for the situation.

A Winning Smile!

We have all heard the saying “Smile and the world smiles with you” So there’s nothing like a smile to create a good first impression. A warm and confident smile will put both you and the other person at ease. Just be careful not to overdo it and appear smarmy or insincere!

Be Open and Confident

When it comes to making the first impression, body language as well as appearance speaks much louder than words.

Use your body language to project appropriate confidence and self-assurance. Stand tall, smile, make eye contact, greet with a firm handshake. All of this will help you project confidence and encourage both you and the other person to feel better at ease.

Everyone gets a little nervous when meeting someone for the first time. By being aware of your nervous habits, you can try to keep them under control. And controlling a nervous jitter or a nervous laugh will give you confidence and help the other person feel at ease.

Small Talk Goes a Long Way…

Conversations are based on verbal give and take. It may help you to take a few minutes to learn something about the person you meet for the first time, before you get together. For instance, do they play golf? Do they work with a local charitable foundation?

Is there anything that you know of that you have in common with the person you are meeting? If so, this can be a great way to open the conversation and to keep it flowing.

Don’t be afraid of talking about things outside of business. People deal with people they know and like so you need to build up a level of trust. The more people know about you the more they will trust you and you may find out that you have more in common than you first thought.

Be Positive

Your attitude shows through in everything you do. Project a positive attitude, even in the face of criticism or in the case of nervousness. Strive to learn from your meeting and to contribute appropriately, maintaining an upbeat manner and a smile.

Be Courteous And Attentive

It goes without saying that good manners and polite, attentive and courteous behaviour help make a good first impression. In fact, anything less can ruin that one and only chance – so be on your best behaviour!

Turn off your mobile phone or leave it on silent in your pocket and resist the urge to check for messages. Just think of the impression you will create if you are already speaking to someone other than the person you are meeting for the first time. Your new acquaintance deserves 100% of your attention.

Key Points

You have just a few seconds to make a good first impression and it’s almost impossible ever to change it. So it’s worth giving each new encounter your best shot. Much of what you need to do to make a good impression is common sense. But with a little extra thought and preparation, you can hone your intuitive style and make every first impression not just good but great.


Original article can be found here

Recruitment Drive Underway

We will be running a pilot email marketing campaign next week for inviting visitors to Bravo, based on our previous list of most wanted categories (see below). If you would like any changes or additions to this list, or if you are a visitor and you fall into one of these categories then please get in touch. Read more