On March 7th, 2010, the four BNI chapters of the Haifa region held a networking event at the Mount Carmel Hotel. The four chapters are BNI Haifa (my chapter), BNI Haifa Pesagot HaCarmel, BNI Haifa Betenufa, and BNI Tsafon Asakim (from the nearby Krayot). There were over 80 participants, mainly BNI members, but also some visitors (though not really enough, in my opinion, to justify the name Visitors Day, as this event was originally intended to be).
The guest of honour was Shaul D'Angeli, of Haifa Municipality's Business Development Unit, who spoke optimistically about the types of businesses here in Haifa, the development of transport solutions in the city, and the recent increase in real estate prices in Haifa compared with the rest of the country.
The main presentation on networking was provided by Dr. Itai Plaut, BNI Regional Director for the North (pictured above). He explained the principles of networking and encouraged everyone to adopt them, whether or not they were BNI members. The speech was refreshingly not a hard-sell recruitment attempt, as Itai noted repeatedly that business people can network without belonging to an organization like BNI, though he did present figures that showed the success of BNI Israel in the past year.
We then had three rounds of speed networking at the tables, where participants presented themselves and got to know each other, and then arranged meetings for later. The aim was to have all the participants leave the event with four meetings in their diaries.
This was another successful event, though it would have been better with more visitors.
Update: Here is a report on this event (in Hebrew) with photographs, in a local news site. One correction: this event was not part of International Networking Week as they mentioned, since that was a month ago.