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Please bring a plate ….

by Richard Foulkes

“Ladies, please bring a plate

Q. Who is old enough to remember when invitations to group social events asked “ladies, please bring a plate? Wow, you lot are old! Can anyone see why this is a great example of Givers Gain®? That’s right, bringing a plate to the table is like bringing a referral to the meeting. If only a few people bring a plate, not everyone will get fed. If only a few bring referrals, similarly a lot of members will go away without a referral. Conversely, if people all bring slightly more food than they individually need, everyone will go home with a full tummy. If all members make the effort to bring a referral, chances are most members will receive a referral. 

Please bring a plate….

Another great advantage of everyone bringing a plate is that there is a great range of yummy food and everyone gets a chance to try new tastes or gorge themselves on something they really like. This is like passing referrals to others for business you don’t do yourself but getting the opportunity to feast on referrals you do want.

How big is your spoon?

When we are eating ourselves, we use a dessert spoon, when we are serving others, we use a serving spoon. Think about this for your approach to referrals. Which spoon are you using to serve others? And which spoon are you using to serve yourself?  Are you using the right spoon for the right reason?

Take off your bib and put on your apron.

I promise this is the last food related analogy for this education! If you are sitting at a table with your bib on, dessert spoon at the ready, it’s similar to a takers attitude in BNI. For all members to prosper we need to take off our bib and put on our apron, pick up the serving spoon and serve others. When we do that, we still get to eat ourselves, maybe first, maybe later but there is always lots to go around. It’s the same as a Givers Gain® attitude in BNI.


Think about what you are bringing to the table in BNI, are you arriving empty handed but expecting referrals yourself? Bringing a plate, putting on your apron and using your serving spoon is like attending the chapter meetings, doing one to ones and bringing referrals to the meeting! So, to get fed well, let’s make sure we feed others.

Pre Reading for the Educator

Podcast Episode 125: Take Off Your Bib


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