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26 Best Practices of using Zoom for BNI Chapter Initiatives

BNI Alchemist - Apr to Sep 2020

The journey of A to Z for 26 weeks with the fellow leadership team of Mr. Ajay Gupta (LVH), Ms. Mitali Desai (LVH), Mr. Anurag Agarwal (ST), and Mr. Pawan Kayth (VP) successfully completed on 25th September 2020.

It was a great honor and pleasure to be the President of the World's Largest Chapter of BNI and of utmost pride to bring it to World's No. 1 in Chapter Traffic Lights for continuous 4 months.

This was possible only because of the supreme support and encouragement from the fellow members and coordinators of the BNI Alchemist family.

What gave us the energy to fight against this global pandemic, was this below quote from the famous web-series "SUITS":

When the chances are ONE in a Million, be that "ONE".

23 Inductions | 250 Visitors

0.75 RRO (Referral Received Outside)

₹60 Crore of Business

As it is said, "Necessity is the mother of Invention." we got inspired to utilize the online video conferencing solution of ZOOM for so many initiatives along with the chapter meetings.

I am jotting down them here so that the incoming leadership teams and coordinators can take some ideas and improvise on them during their tenure.

The first task is to have a proper profile.

Create Profile from Web-browser

You can either keep the chapter logo or the profile picture of the host. Fill in the other details like First and Last Name. Just like you create your profile on any social media.

Schedule your Meetings in Advance at least for one month

It is important to have the visitor invite links in advance. As soon as you complete your chapter's meeting, you should be able to share the visitor invite with your chapter members for next week's invite.

You can choose Recurring Meeting if you want to keep the same content in the introduction. We used to have a different message for each meeting and hence we used to create separate links.

Sending Visitor Invites

Gear up for an Awe-inspiring business journey across the beautiful states of Incredible India

Join us this Friday, if you want to explore business beyond boundaries.

Via Zoom meeting

Friday, Oct 2, 2020, 07:00 AM

Register in advance for this meeting:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

BNI Alchemist

World's No. 1 Chapter

We had a theme of A to Z for 26 weeks and our incoming leadership team is coming with a super theme of "Incredible India" #VandeBharat

You can plan a theme for your 26 weeks, it gives a nice experience while you go through each step of the journey of your tenure.

Visitor Thread

We start the Visitor thread well in advance. As you can see from the above screenshot, we have this thread on Monday itself. Our Chapter meeting is on Friday.

Expression of Interest Form - Feedback of Visitors

Dear members,

Kindly please ask your visitors to fill this form.

You can directly forward this message to them.

Dear Visitors,

Please fill the above form. It is to take your feedback about the meeting.

We request you to stay with us for Visitor Orientation for 5 more mins post the meeting. We will ensure to complete by 940am

Thanks and regards,

Team Alchemists

Preparing for the Friday Meeting on Wednesday Night


1. Open Networking Topic

2. Date change

3. Education Slot

4. Special Announcements

5. Inductions / Renewals

6. Training Announcement

7. Feature Presentation

8. Proper Sequence of Weekly Presentation

9. Poll if applicable

10. Visitor Names

11. VP Reports

12. Recognition of coordinators

13. Closing Quote

14. New members slides

15. Networking Leaders

Our Wednesday meeting used to help us prepare well in advance for our Friday Meeting. We had this checklist with us to follow through for preparing for the meeting.

Digital Script for the Leadership Team
  • We used to have different color markings done for the different speakers i.e. President, Vice President, and Secretary-treasurer.

  • We used to put the relevant slide in the Word file itself so that while reading the script, it gets very easy to relate.

  • I used to keep the script open over the Zoom meeting such that I could see the glimpse of slides, as well as chatbox and the audience, will be able to connect with me as I will be seeing in front of the camera only.

Quirky and relatable Presentations

As its an online presentation scenario, it becomes all the more difficult to grab the attention of the audience. So we relied on quirky and relatable presentation formats and content.

Breakout Rooms

One of the most used features of Zoom during the last 6 months

Breakout Rooms for Online Expo

We are really so proud to have launched this initiative. We did our 1st Online Expo on 12th April 2020. This was just after 2 weeks of our tenure. We had dreamt of so many initiatives for the physical world, the lockdown really dropped the morale for the initial days, but we told ourselves "It is now or never." We immediately adapted to the change and not just adapted, we started enjoying the change.

You can read the detailed process of organizing the Online Expo on this link. Click Here.

Breakout Rooms for Open Networking

We used to have open networking from 7 am to 745 am. Members used to submit their responses on the Open Networking topic in the chatbox. One day while referring to the content on BNI University, we found this idea of having open networking using breakout rooms.

During the days of the physical world, we used to meet early before the meeting time and interact with fellow members over the cup of coffee or tea, while sitting beside each other during the meeting or during the breakfast post the meeting. It used to help in developing a very strong bond among each other.

We wanted to bring that intimacy and closeness and hence we started the open networking sessions with breakout rooms. We used to send members as per their sequence of entries. We event sent visitors in the breakout rooms for open networking.

Breakout Rooms for 3 min Weekly Presentation

We had observers from various chapters across the Surat region, from various regions of India, and also from various countries, like from Japan, and at the end from USA.

One of the observers gave us an excellent suggestion and it was in the last month of our tenure. Generally, we tend to resist experiments especially when the tenure is running smoothly. But our team had a super enthusiasm to try new ideas.

We informed all our members in advance with various teasers like below:


This Friday, 11th Sep 2020 - Weekly Presentation will be of 25 Seconds 3 Minutes!!!

And yes the meeting will still complete @ 9:30 am


Everyone, please note that this Friday, 11th Sep 2020 - everyone can give a mini-feature presentation

Yes, every member will get 3 minutes to speak that too 2 times!!!

And yes the meeting will still complete @ 9:30 am


One of the largest chapters of the World is going to have its BNI chapter meeting this Friday, 11th Sep 2020

where 167 members will give 3 minutes presentation instead of the routine 25 Seconds presentation.

And yes the meeting will still complete @ 9:30 am

Mitali mam:

This online world made it difficult for us to have those closer interactions with our fellow members which we used to have while having tea/coffee before the meeting,

or while sitting beside during the meeting

or while having breakfast post the meeting.

We bring to you that closer interaction for better networking this Friday, 11th Sep 2020

3 mins Presentation for every member 2 times!!!

And yes the meeting will still complete @ 9:30 am


This Friday, 11th Sep 2020 - How can you generate business from your 3 Min weekly Presentation?

1) Share your screen

2) Create PPT

3) Share your X-Factor (your USPs)

4) Be Ready with your specific ask (Must)

5) Show your products live or by Pictures

6) Share your QCR (Quotation, Customer & Referrals)

7) Share your success stories

And yes the meeting will still complete @ 9:30 am

The whole idea was welcomed and appreciated by all the members of the chapter.

Breakout Rooms for Visitor Orientation

Our then secretary-treasurer Mr. Anurag Agarwal along with the chapter growth and application review team along with the slides team were shifted to a breakout room post the chapter meeting for visitor orientation.

We had Mr. Aashish Patel and Mr. Piyush Agarwal as our Chapter Growth Coordinators. Mr. Harshal Patel and Mr. Hemal Diwan as our Application Review Coordinators. Mr. Sarthak Doctor, Mr. Pinak Choksi, and Mr. Viraj Dave as our BNI Connect and Slides team strongly supported by Mr. Ashutosh Kedia who was going to handle the Registration Desk team for a physical world scenario.

Some screenshots which can help to explain how to use Breakout Rooms.

When the host will assign breakout rooms to the participants of the Zoom meeting, they will get this notification. They have to choose to Join in order to go to the Breakout Room.

If they select Later, then there will be another option to join on the top left corner of the screen as shown in the below screenshot.

You can even ask for help while you are in the breakout room.

All these features are available in both the versions - desktop as well as mobile.

In order to leave the Breakout room while screen sharing is on, select more, and choose Leave Breakout Room.

Screensharing can be done by the host or even by participants if allowed in the settings. Choose Share Computer Sound if you have a video to be played in order to share the sound as well.

Studio Meetings

As we all knew it was never going to be possible to have a physical meeting because of the global pandemic during our tenure. Our chapter did 3 STUDIO meetings with the utmost care and following the discipline of precautionary measures.

One of our most memorable meetings was on 29th July 2020 when we celebrated the awards night for the chapter as it was the 4th anniversary of our chapter as well as of the region.

We did induction on that day.

In July 2020, we were able to do induction on each of the 5 Fridays.

We had full entertainment.

Awards, Trivia, and Engagement.

Recognition of the Givers of the Chapter.

Recognized the highest business givers, referral givers, visitors, one to ones, attendance, and various other parameters of BNI.

Remembering the Past Leadership Teams.

The torchbearers of the chapter. The Leadership Teams.

Power Team Presentation

Change of Guards

Conducting the meeting

We ensured to keep a safe distance and sanitization. We as a team of LT and LVH got the one and only opportunity to sit on that table together for the first and last time. It was a memorable and emotional experience. We had a super infrastructure with backdrop and props because of our chapter member - Mr. Nayan Choksi of Maxmedia Photo Studio. We had the sound system with a microphone connected in such a way that there was no noise or echo. The entire setup of the sound system was done by another chapter member - Mr. Nirav Bhavsar of Shiv Sound.

Apart from all the above initiatives, we did a lot many other things like:

  • One to One Karona Conclave

  • Cross Chapter One to One Conclave with BNI Maximus, Ahmedabad

  • Cross Chapter Power One to One with BNI BlueJade, Jaipur

  • Cross Chapter One to One Conclave with BNI Quartzz, Bangalore

  • Corporate Empanelment

  • Power Date with Corporate Empanelment

  • Socials - Tambola Game of Housie, TikTok Social and Bollywood Quiz

  • Where is the Red Diary? - A video made by various members of our chapter staying at their homes. Must Watch.

World No. 1 Chapter - Continuously for 4 Months

In the end, I would like to conclude that the only reason we were able to achieve all these accolades and were able to do so many activations and events in spite of the global pandemic is:


BNI Alchemist Members

For the Zoom platform: BNI Surat

For graphics: Mr. Pawan Kayth (Brandsmart, then Vice President)

For Photos: Mr. Nayan Choksi (Maxmedia Photo Studio)

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