Another frequently asked question is why we only give each member one minute to formally introduce themselves at our meetings. This is not a simple question to answer s because there are so many strands to the reasoning behind the way we organise our agenda.
First and foremost is the issue of available time. If a club has between twenty and thirty members plus a number of guests, all of whom need to get a chance to deliver their ‘elevator speech’ before the other sections of the meeting get under way, then there has to be a limit. “Yes, OK”, we hear you say “but what about people who own complex businesses or have a varied portfolio of products and services – shouldn’t they get a longer time slot than someone who does something simple and straightforward?” Let’s consider that carefully. Is there any business that the owner or someone working in it couldn’t talk about for an extended period? Probably not, as there are many aspects of subtle complexity which simply wouldn’t occur to anyone outside that trade or profession.
It’s also important to remember that each member is as important as all the others. Everybody pays the same subscription to join and the same price for their breakfast, lunch or whatever meal goes with the meeting. Everyone is part of the team and that is how the club achieves success. All individuals are essential but no one is indispensable. The one minute introduction allows a level playing field for all members, so that no one feels they are less valued in any way.
Another point to consider is that it is much better if people actually listen! You may think your own business is the most fascinating (and so you should, otherwise why would you be involved in it?) but not everyone will see it that way. If you keep talking about it for too long, some people will switch off. Much better to do a punchy one minute speech which concentrates on a different aspect of your work at each meeting and which will help all your colleagues remember exactly what to recommend you for. Condensing your message into a succinct presentation is often the most powerful way to deliver it.
There is also a need to keep plenty of time for open networking. This informal time is often the most worthwhile part of the meeting. It’s where members share issues and chat over matters of mutual interest and that is how the trust between them is built, which in turn leads to the creation of sufficient confidence to pass referrals.
Sometimes, less is truly more. Make it so.