How To Be A Good Member - The ROOM - Networking Bedford

How To Be A Good Member?

Maximising Your Membership Value – Guidelines

At The Room, we believe that the more active you are as a member, the more value and benefit the Group will bring you. We know from long experience what constitutes an active member, and this document is designed to give you an advice on how to become one.

Attend regularly

We make it clear in our constitution that your health, family and business commitments always come first, so although regular attendance is one characteristic of an active member if you cannot attend a meeting the minimum we ask is that you let the Chair or membership coordinator know of your absence prior to that meeting.

Better still, if you can send a sub to represent you in your place, your business will still be introduced and promoted in the room despite your absence.

An active member has a meeting attendance of at least 75% (inclusive of subs). Every member’s attendance is reviewed quarterly by the Management Team and sub-75% attendance will prompt a discussion with you. No further concerns will be raised in this regard if it is clear that the attendance shortfall is due only to temporary circumstances.

If attendance continues to be a concern or falls below 50% over a six-month period then your ongoing membership of the Group will be reviewed again as it will be unlikely that you, or the Group, will be benefiting from your limited attendance.

As such, your Management Team may decide to ask you to leave the Group without refund of membership fees unless there are extenuating circumstances that the Management Team find plausible.

Learn how to deliver a great Uin40

The Uin40 is a moment in our meetings where you will be offered 40 seconds to tell the Group what you do and what you are looking for from them this week.

It is very important that the objective of your Uin40 should be clear. Are you looking for help? Are you publicising an event? If you’re looking for new business, you should be clear about what kind of businesses you are targeting, and cite specific business names and any contact names there if possible.

This will make it easier for the rest of the Group to understand what you are getting at and to help you in return.

Humour, rhyme or song are all permissible if you are feeling brave enough, and will help make your intro memorable for days and weeks rather than hours and minutes. An object or prop will often achieve the same effect.

Coaching to deliver an effective Uin40 is available through the Group’s training coordinator, so please ask if you need help.

The best Uin40 of the day will be awarded with a trophy for the week – take it home or to the office and display it with pride but please do not lose it or forget it for the following week- you are responsible for its safe return!

Get trained

The Group has a Training Coordinator appointed. This will usually be an experienced member with significant networking and training expertise. You will be contacted within 10 days of your joining to explain training opportunities and help you benefit from it, both in this Group and in your wider networking ‘life’ beyond.

Training can involve 1to1 sessions or short Group sessions, usually following a normal networking meeting. Mentoring is not compulsory and not everybody needs it, but it is considered “active member behaviour” in those who do.

Wear your name badge

You will be asked to provide details for a name badge shortly after you join, which will also show the name of your business. A simple name badge is often enough to spark a conversation in which you can introduce your business more fully. The name badge is free but replacements cost £5 each.

As a member you will also be provided with a business card wallet, pen and a lapel badge so you can keep your Group member details handy and promote the Group during your normal working day. These will all help with gaining referrals and visitors which are important to the Group.

Keep your website entry current

We have an active website and it is in your interest to have current information about your business on that website. Please do not delay when asked to provide this information to our web design team, which should happen within 2/3weeks of your becoming a member.

See all member listings here https://www.theroomnetworkingbedford.co.uk/members/

We gain huge traffic via our highly Google-ranked website and should you not have a presence you will definitely be missing out on both potential business and traffic to your own website.

Initially, the Chair or membership coordinator of the Group will submit your business card to our web team who will put an interim advert on the Group site until you can forward on the subsequent detailed information about your business (including logos etc.), which the web team will request from you.

Set up your payments

You will have been made aware when you submitted your application that the annual membership fee is £99 and the monthly breakfast fee is currently £57.00, both of which will be collected via direct debit mandate. Please make sure you follow any instructions to set up these payments promptly, and ask if you need help with the technical detail.

The DD mandate can take up to 2 weeks for your bank to accept and clear so until this has happened please pay breakfast fees in cash/by cheque at each meeting to the Group’s Treasurer.

If there is a problem setting up a DD on your account we will, in certain exceptional cases, accept payment for annual and breakfast fees by cheques. The cheque for the annual membership fee should accompany your membership application and we will only accept breakfast payments 3 months in advance i.e. a payment of £171.00

No other payments are acceptable

Use the email Group

We use a Group email address in order to ensure that messages can be easily and quickly sent to all Group members. We will therefore request details of your primary email address so that we can include it in this Group address. Should you change your email be sure to inform our web team or you may fail to receive important information and offers from the Group.

Please do not use this facility to send sales information or jokes etc.!

Bring visitors

We encourage visitors to grow our memberships – every member was once a visitor! ‘New blood’ helps the Group create a buzz at the meetings and focuses members on the quality and clarity of their Uin40 pitches.

An active member should be looking to use their contacts to bring visitors to the Group – with the proviso that visitors’ businesses do not clash with those of existing members. If in any doubt, clarify this with the Chair/Membership Coordinator.

Normally we will allow two initial visits from an individual to help them identify whether or not the Group will benefit them and their business. Wilfully serial visitors will be asked not to attend further, – and you will be informed of any such communication – unless they have already committed to join.

Attend social and other events

Social activities enable others to understand your business in more relaxed surroundings, where there is more scope for detailed, informal discussion. Where you can, (and always understanding that your home, family and business circumstances must come first), try to mix with others in the Group at social meetings and events.

Focus on referrals

We are all attending the Group to earn money. Should you have a referral for a member please offer as much detail as you can.

It is also often beneficial to advise how a referral was obtained as this will often help identify referral opportunities for other members Follow up on referrals to ensure they are progressed and concluded – remember, all referrals given reflect you and so you should ensure members follow through.

Should you receive a referral then please treat this as a huge bonus and follow up as a priority – never disregard this important lead, and keep the member who passed it fully updated.

The value of the business passed within the Group in the form of referrals is an important quarterly measure of our success and is communicated openly to the Group.

Bring and replenish your business cards

A box containing the business cards of the members will be circulated to the Group at each week’s meeting. It is your responsibility to maintain the stock of your cards.

Make sure you also bring business cards along to each meeting – it is better to pass a business card to someone in one-to-one conversation than rely on them finding it in the box afterwards.

Be there for the Revenue Call

The Revenue Call is an important part of the Group meetings. Understanding the value of each seat in the room and ensuring that each member is benefiting financially from the Group is what keeps the Group relevant.

At the end of each quarter you will be asked to offer a list of business that you have invoiced as a result of referrals. These can be from members, visitors or someone recommended outside the Group. Any invoice/payment which was a direct response arising from your involvement with the Group should be included (less VAT).

It is our aim to ensure that every member generates business from the Group, so this element of active membership is very important and we would ask that you respond as soon as possible when this information is requested.

You may also be asked, at the discretion of the Group Management Team, to supply details of the referrals you have supplied to other members, in order that we can see who is working hard for the benefit of the Group and not just for their own business interests.

Know your meeting dates

The Group meets on Tuesday each week. However, when there is a bank holiday in the week, that week’s meeting is usually cancelled to enable people to catch up with the four-day week. At Christmas, the Group usually ends in the first or second week of December, returning the first full working week in January. Your Chair will advise you of the specific dates of year end and new year start.

Keep good time

We start the meeting proper at 7.00am – however, we generally arrive 10/15 minutes early to network. At 7.00am breakfast is served, and the meeting starts shortly after.

The meeting should conclude no later that 8.45am. The earlier you arrive the more you will benefit from informal networking with other members. You don’t need to rush away either! At all our venues you can stay behind and continue networking or carry out more in depth member to member (M2M) meetings.

Speak and present

Once you have joined the Group you will offered a 4-minute speaking/presentation slot about you and your background.

It is for you to share with the Group your working history on the way to your current business, your family and your hobbies and interests outside work.

Effective networking is about building relationships with the Group and this session is a great opportunity to achieve this, as many of whom will may share common interests and history with you.

This will be followed a few weeks later by an 8-minute presentation, where you will have the opportunity to share with the Group more detail about your business; your goals, specific services you offer, your unique selling points and what referrals are good for you and how we can find them.

We aim to give each member a presentation opportunity at least twice a year, so your preparation is very important.

These sessions are not mandatory so if you feel uncomfortable delivering you can elect to postpone or ask someone to present for/with you. Mentoring and guidance on how to speak and present effectively is available from the Group training coordinator.

Come up with good network tips

You will be asked from time to time to offer a network tip – a useful piece of advice to offer to other businesses in the room. It should last a maximum of 5 minutes but can be shorter. There is no set format but a little thought and perhaps some research in order to make your delivery worthwhile is expected.

Attend 1-to-1 Meetings

Sometimes referred to as Member to Member (M2M) meetings, 1-to-1s are a cornerstone of effective networking and we strongly encourage you to carry out regular such meetings with Group members. When a new member joins, it should be your priority to secure a 1-to-1 meeting with them.

These meetings allow you to fully appreciate what your fellow member does and how you may be able to help each other going forward. The format is quite informal and would usually last an hour or so. Each member will take in turn to present their business after which you can discuss contacts and opportunities.

The 1-to-1 can take place at any venue convenient for you and the other member, but the current Group venue at Bedfordshire Golf Club has pleasant bar and coffee shop facilities on the first floor, which are well suited to the purpose and available for you to use.

During the referral section of the meetings you should tell members of the 1-to-1 meetings you had that week and how helpful they were.

Settle disputes and issues

In practice, disputes and issues within the Group are extremely rare! However, should you encounter a problem with the goods and services provided by another member or you should try to resolve the situation with the member directly.

You should only raise the issue with the Chair of the Group where you have failed to resolve the dispute/issue through conversation with the member concerned.

In extreme cases the Chair may ask for assistance to resolve the matter with the wider Management Team, particularly where he/she feels an individual could be putting the good name of the Group at risk.

Should you have issues with the conduct or behaviour of another member during a meeting or have concerns about the attendance of a visitor to the Group (including a potential clash with your own business or previous poor experience with them) then you must speak with the Membership Coordinator in your Group.

Know about the Guarantee

At the discretion of your Chair, a one-off payment of £200.00, will be paid to any member who has been an active member and contributed to their local Group (as evidenced by a number of the activities above) but has been unsuccessful in generating any income from the Group in a 6 month period (that is, has invoiced less than their original joining fee of £99).

This payment will not exclude the member from retaining their presence at the Group. This will be a one off payment only. The request will be from the Chair on behalf of the Group and payment will be made within 4 weeks of the request from the Group Chair.

If regular revenue call information is supplied by members as requested, the Chair will be aware of members who may be likely to invoke the Guarantee and, with the help of the Management Team and the Group members, will focus effort on helping the member improve the amount of business they receive from the Group.

This may include, for example, help with Uin40 pitches, additional presentation slots, and focused Group help with introductions. The Group will of course honour the Guarantee if it falls due, but is primarily of the view that it is preferable to give a member’s business extra help to perform when it needs it, rather than compensate it when it doesn’t.

Renew promptly

Around four weeks prior to the anniversary of your membership you will be asked for a membership renewal payment of £99.00 and presented with an invoice for the same.

Know your Group Management Team (and associated roles) and their responsibilities

Chair

A key role in running the Group effectively and successfully. Motivates and energises the members at meetings, updates members on initiatives and decisions (re, for example, meeting cancellations, changes to meeting content, visitor day events) and is responsible for ensuring the meetings run smoothly and in a timely manner.

This individual has been selected because of their ability as a leader – strong personality, ability and attention to detail. It is a role which will gain a great deal of respect from the Group members.

The Chair will update the register each meeting in respect of members, expected visitors, subs for the day and known absentees – however, this roll may be delegated.

The Chair will ensure he/she introduces him/herself to all visitors on the day and ensure that visitors are always followed up.

Whilst the chairing of each weekly meeting is rotated, the actual Chair of the Group should ensure that he/she Chairs their Group at least every 3-4 weeks.

Generally, the Chair is very active in reporting performance and expectations to the members of the Group on a regular basis. The Chair will be invited to bi-monthly management meetings with one other member from the Management Team of the Group. The Chair will identify inactive members of the Group, those not contributing to the benefit of the Group or the representation of their own interests and offer/organise assistance, which could be personal help or business mentoring.

The Chair is active in all social and training events where possible.

The Chair should undertake a regular review (closed meeting) to discuss the performance of the Group – this should include a detailed performance of each member’s activity for that quarter/half year – this can include; attendance, revenue calls to and from individual members, visitors brought to the Group, etc.

Treasurer

The Treasurer pays visitor fees and other monies into the Group bank account or may entrust other Group personnel with this task. At the start of each quarter the finance manager will conduct a revenue call from all members – these figures are added to the existing figures declared in previous quarters.

The Treasurer prepares a cumulative record of members’ earnings generated through the Group, to be used by the Chair for the quarterly review.   A seat value is calculated which is the sum total divided by the number of members.

The Treasurer may also request that each member provides details of which members they have received revenues from. This can include current member, ex-member, or visitor, and although not obligatory, allows the Chair to identify active members who are working hard for the other members of the Group

The Treasurer also manages venue numbers for breakfast etc. and is the contact for the venue staff in any concerns regarding quality of breakfast, outstanding invoices, etc.

The Treasurer will be acting Chair of the Group meetings every three or four weeks.

Membership Coordinator

The membership manager is responsible for all issues relating to memberships, with new applications being reviewed and responded to within 10 days. Any potential business crossovers/clashes will be discussed prior to the applicant’s visit to the Group.

The Membership Coordinator will read out the joining procedures each week with energy and passion to encourage visitors to join. They will help answer any questions with regards to membership, identify any conflicts of business activity and discuss with each party as to how these may be resolved satisfactorily.

The Membership Coordinator will keep a record of attendance each week of members who are not present (regardless of subs) to be used by the Chair for the quarterly review. They will be acting Chair of the Group every three or four weeks.

Timekeeper

The Timekeeper keeps time during Uin40 introductions, and speaking and presentation slots, ensuring that everybody gets the same chance to express themselves. A charge of £1.00 may be applied to the member in question if the time limit is exceeded, although this money is usually given to the Group’s charity at the end of the year. Timekeeping for visitors is more relaxed.

Rota Coordinator

The Rota Coordinator timetables and introduces the speaking and presentation slots, network tips, and other member-delivered meeting content. The Rota Coordinator’s aim is to enable each member to participate once or twice a year. From time to time the Chair will advise an accelerated slot to assist a struggling member.

Social & Training Coordinator

This individual sets up regular social activities and localised training support, based on input and feedback from the members. Social activities are a great means of building and cementing relationships and training helps with competence and confidence. Both ultimately enable members to generate more and better business.

Special Days Coordinator

Fun is a big part of the Group’s personality, so the Special Days Coordinator announces members’ birthdays and other special occasions in the Group, hands them a birthday card or similar, and contacts the member concerned the week before to encourage them to bring cake, sweets or fruit to the meeting so that everyone can share in the celebration!