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by | Sep 28, 2022


Learn how one education coordinator transformed his chapter’s Education Moments into lively seminars with active member participation. He set up the chapter’s Education Moments as a group discussion–with these rules.

In order for us to have an informed dialogue, we have to do the reading. So we’ll take topics that you would like to talk about and I’ll assign a podcast, or a blog, or some material on that topic, for you to read or listen to for the next week. If you have listened to the podcast, or read the material, you can talk. If you haven’t listened to the material or read the material, you can’t talk. And we’ll know that you listened to it or read it because you’re gonna have to quote something from it.

You become better at what you do by teaching others. Education Coordinators are mentors who become better at networking by teaching their fellow members.

If you’re an Education Coordinator or thinking of becoming one, read The Networking Mentor.

Complete Transcript of Episode 11266455

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Hello everybody and welcome back to The Official BNI Podcast. I’m Priscilla Rice and I’m coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. And I’m joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan, how are you and where are you?

Well, I am doing an Ivan’s Inner Circle, which is a program for leadership teams throughout North America, just finished that. Next week, I think, I’m headed to Santa Barbara to do an event for Jack Canfield; he did [the book] Chicken Soup for the Soul.


So he asked me to come help him.

Perfect. And what are you going to share with us?

Today I’m going to talk about Education Coordinators. And I think, you know, for me, one of the greatest positions in a chapter is to be the Education Coordinator because you have an opportunity to pour into people about the things that you’ve learned. And I really recommend that anyone, especially if you’ve been on the leadership team, and you’ve had some advanced training, or if you have a lot of education units, and if you’ve read the books, if you’ve listened to the podcasts, such a great opportunity to pour back into the membership. And so I actually, there’s a story that I thought I told on a podcast years ago. And Dana, my assistant, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. And so I want to share that story in a minute about what Education Coordinators did — what a specific Education Coordinator did to get his chapter really immersed into a culture of learning. But there’s a lot that they can do.

Education coordinators can provide short summaries of an episode to the members; they can cut and paste some summaries of an episode, or we have the transcript. One of the reasons that we do the transcripts is so that you can do searches on topics, and cut and paste that, and print it out and give it to members. And sometimes I’ve even had some chapters where they play a short clip from the podcast, but please –SHORT clip. Don’t play an entire podcast, it’s too much. But a short clip, that’s fine. Sometimes I’ve seen education coordinators, assigned specific podcasts based on the group’s need and maybe somebody’s expertise. So somebody who’s really rocking it in their weekly presentation, they assign a podcast to that person and have that person talk about how to do a great weekly presentation – talk about the podcast, talk about what they do as a member to do those kinds of things. And remember, you can use the search function, especially as the education coordinators, you want to figure out what the chapter needs most and then use the search function.

The thing that a chapter Education Coordinator did years ago, that just was amazing, is the story I want to share. And I couldn’t find it on any of the podcasts. So I think this is the first time it’s been played, or told, on the podcast. I had an Education Coordinator who came up to me and he said, “I am in a chapter where the members just aren’t listening to the podcast. And we, the leadership team, really recognizes that in order for a chapter to be successful, everybody’s got to be working off the same playbook. In sports, you get a playbook and you all work on the same plays. You got to work off the same playbook. You got to be singing from the same hymnal. So you got to be together as a team. And if people aren’t listening to podcasts, then it’s not going to work because they’re not educating themselves on how to be better members.”

And I agreed with him. And he said, “I came up with a solution for that.” I said, “What was it?” He said, “Well, when I started as the Education Coordinator, my very first week on the job, I stood up and I said, I basically have two choices as the Education Coordinator, and I’d like your opinion on what you’d like me to do. One, you can let me know the topics that you’d like me to talk about, and each week I’ll do a short lecture on that topic. I will talk about that topic. I’ll pull material from podcasts, Ivan’s books, his blog, and I’ll talk about that content for you directly. Or two, we can have a dialogue. We can share ideas on what works and what doesn’t work. Which one of those two would you prefer I do?” He asked the chapter. Well, a soon as he told me that, I’m like, “Oh, I know the chapters answer.” He said, “Yes, I knew the chapters answer, too. They all said, dialogue, please. We want to talk.” He said, “I knew they would say that.” And he said, “That’s where the magic then came in.” I said, “So what did you do?”

He told me, “I told the group, ‘Great, I was hoping you would say you wanted a dialogue. So in order for us to have an informed dialogue, we have to do the reading. So we’ll take topics that you would like to talk about, I will assign a podcast, or a blog, or some material, for you to read or listen to on that topic, for the next week. And if you have listened to the podcast, or read the material, you can talk. If you can’t….’”, and then he did this little motion with his fingers and his lips, like he was locking a key, locking his lips, you know? “‘…you can’t talk. If you haven’t listened to the material or read the material, you can’t talk. And we’ll know that you listened to it or read it because you’re gonna have to quote something from it. You know: Ivan been said on the podcast, yada yada yada, or his guest, So-and-So made this point, and then make your point. But if you haven’t listened to it, you can’t talk.’” And Priscilla, he went from having a chapter where almost no one listened to the podcast on a weekly basis, to getting almost 100% participation.

That’s great.

Because people knew that they couldn’t talk unless they listened to it. What a brilliant idea! And I urge Education Coordinators all around the world — use this concept as a way of getting engagement. Because the truth is, if everyone listens to the podcast, and then you spend a few minutes talking about it, it’s so much more real. It’s so much more engaging, than strictly listening to a lecture, which can be great, depending on the education coordinator, it can be great. But we’re all adults. And you know, having a seminal experience was like a seminar where you’re able to talk from a position of knowledge and understanding is the most powerful. How do you like that idea?

I like that idea. And I’ve been Education Coordinator, for years actually, in my group, because they think I have the inside scoop on all the podcasts.

Ivan: (chuckling)
Well, you kind of do. Alright, so you can try this out. And let us all know how it works for you.

Yeah, I think it’s a great idea.

Well, I want to leave you… and I’m happy to talk more about being an Education Coordinator since you’ve done it so long. If you have some questions, I’m happy to talk to you about that… But before I do, I want to leave one last concept about being an Education Coordinator. To me, it’s all about mentoring. And yeah, you can be a mentor for the chapter, volunteer to be a mentor, I urge it. But I think an Education Coordinator is a form of a mentor. You’re going there every week, and you’re helping to guide and coach people in the right direction. I recommend a book that I did, called The Networking Mentor. It’s a real short book. And I’d recommend it for Education Coordinators. And there’s a story in the book, the book is a parable, so it’s a story.

And in there, I tell a story within the book about a gentleman who coached his son’s chess club. And I think I may have told you this on a podcast in the past. He coached his son’s chess club. And his son was 10 years old. And he thought, well, this is going to be easy enough, you know, I’m pretty good at chess. So this is actually a story about me. I threw a story of my own into the book. And I coached my son’s chess club. And they’re all 10-year-olds, and then it hit me — I’ve never studied the game. I mean, I was self-taught. I read one book in high school, and I was totally self-taught.

Well, you can’t teach kids that way. You’ve got to know what the moves are. So I had to learn what a fork, a skewer, a pin, a ladder, all of these terms for moves in chess — I had to learn what they were so I could coach 10-year-olds. Well, here’s the funny thing is, I was a pretty good player. And I was playing a friend of mine who I played regularly. And one day he said to me, “Man, what are you doing?” And I said, “What do you mean?” He said, “Your game has gotten really better.” I said, “Oh, I’m coaching 10-year-olds.” He was like, “No, really. What are you doing?” I’m like, “No, seriously. I’m coaching 10-year-olds.” And a short version of that story is in The Networking Mentor.

I tell the story because Education Coordinators have to go back to school. They got to learn the stuff again.  And you become better at what you do by teaching others. I became a better chess player by teaching 10-year-olds. Education Coordinators and mentors, you’ll become better at networking by teaching your fellow members.


Any last thought before we wrap, Priscilla?

No, I just want to say that I think you’re totally right. That’s one of the things I love about it is because you’re always learning yourself about… you have to come up with the topic and you want it to apply to what’s going on in the chapter and it’s a very creative job. It’s fun.

Totally agree, Priscilla. Thank you very much. Back to you.

Okay, perfect.




About Me

Dr. Ben Reebs, ND, is an award-winning, naturopathic physician (specialist) with prescription rights in the state of Oregon.

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