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Specific is Terrific!

by Richard Foulkes

The Reticular Activating System (RAS)

  • The Human Brain has what is called the “Reticular Activating System or RAS.
  • The RAS is responsible for filtering out all of the inputs from our senses down to those it thinks are important for us to know about.
  • If we didn’t have a RAS, we wouldn’t be able to concentrate on what is important.
  • It is incredibly powerful and it can be trained to help our lives way beyond how it impacts on BNI Referrals!ras

A simple RAS exercise


  • Close your eyes for 5s and try to remember all the BROWN things in the room
  • Open your eyes…
  • How many did you remember?
  • Now count how many brown things are actually are there?

Were there a lot more brown things in the room than you could remember? Your brain saw them all before you actively looked for them, it just didn’t think they were important to you. When you buy a new car, do you suddenly start seeing a lot more of the same type or car on the road? Your brain is now trained to look for the same type of car because it now believes this type of car is important to you.

How does RAS relate to BNI?

If our weekly presentation (60sec) includes a very specific referral request, we will activate the RAS of our fellow members.

If we don’t prepare a very specific referral request,  we may not get anything or just leads that aren’t really what we want.

For example, we only asked you to remember brown items. If we had asked for you to remember brown chairs instead, do you think it would have been easier to recall if there were any in the room?

An example of a specific referral request in BNI would be “I would like to be introduced to Mark Bondurant who is the Marketing Manager at Pfizer Chemicals”. There is a possibility that someone in the room knows Mark and if you are visible and credible they may be happy to introduce you to him.

The 10 key components of a successful weekly presentation (60 secs)

  • Preparation
  • Practice
  • Passion
  • Energy
  • Name and company name
  • Your position in the company
  • Your BNI category
  • A statement about your experience
  • A singular client type/service or product (Include stories and humour if possible)

A challenge for you all this week…

Prepare a specific referral request as part of your pitch each week that will take you to your dream clients or referral sources. Remember you might not strike gold each week but consistency beats brilliance – so keep trying! If you are specific it will help each member to activate their RAS and actually think about who you are asking for and identify if they know them or someone similar to them.

Obviously specific referral requests work better for businesses who are looking for business partners rather than individual consumers, but…. think about your own business…….who can you ask to be introduced to next week?

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