Right before we were about to start the BNI Conference, someone came in yelling, “There’s a fire! Everybody out!”
Whoa. We ran outside and saw smoke coming from the roof. Sure enough, it was a real fire. This was not a drill. Everyone starting filing out of the building when the alarm went on.
“Scott, you better pack up your table and get your stuff out NOW,” Andy said.
“Nah, it’ll die down,” I replied.
But it didn’t. The fire kept spreading. We could see flames creeping out of the door panel. Man that was surreal. I’d never seen a real fire before.
I ran back inside through a cloud of smoke to rescue my laptop, chord, briefcase and anything else I could grab. Andy and I ran out of the building as the smoke continued to pour out.
Damn. There were books on each person’s chair. All 240 of them. Freakin’ great.
One of the maintenance guys tried to put out the flames with his exstinguisher, but it was just too big. It kept growing and growing.
By this time, most people (employees, guests, BNI folk) made it out without a problem. A few of us had trouble breathing in the smoke, but thankfully, nobody seemed to be seriously injured.
Everybody cleared out to the parking lot as the fire engines and ambulences echoed in the distance. “Well, I guess your speech is cancelled, huh Scott?” asked several people.
Yeah. Don’t think we’ll be learning about approachability on this day.
It took longer than I expected for the firemen to arrive. But they came with several trucks and two abulances, plus a few patrol cars to monitor traffic. And everyone seemed calm too. In fact, I was glad to see people talking, passing out business cards and networking. That’s what BNI is all about!
Wow, look at the smoke. It got really cloudy and hard to breath. I felt sick for the rest of the day.
Eventually people started talking about moving our meeting. I heard rumors of a coffee shop alternative, which actually worked out well.
Everyone drove down the street a few blocks to Bread Co. to continue our networking. After all, too many people came in from various parts of MO and IL for the regional meeting – we had to make use of our time!
This was my first experience with BNI. I was impressed. These people know how to give a networking introduction! I heard some amazing 30 second speeches. Even though it was hard to hear.
Scott Simon asked if I wanted to speak. I didn’t feel well in the head or stomach from the smoke, so I stood up and said, “Look, I need to be honest with you guys – I feel like crap. So I’m going to simply let you ask questions and we can get a discussion going.”
It turned out to be a great program. We had fun, shared ideas and stories and got to know each other a lot better. I thanked everyone for hanging out after the fire and told them I’d post the attendance list on this blog to show what a true, dedicated networker looks like. So, mucho props to the following folks:
Michael Momeno, Diane Lynn Parsons, Sharon Moses, Beckie Piontek, Dianne Overschmidt, Gary Tobben, Terri Jordan, Debbie Ducar, Joel Harris, Cherie Schroer, Becky Harmon, Corina Stagner, Bill Rau, Mike Scalise, Joe Gaboury, Tony Gartner, Nelson Wright, Linda Maynard, Marry Ellen Renaud, Sam Vladova, Laurie Kreienhedger, Joanna, Doyel, Fred Veinfurt, Don Barnes, Chuck Grbich, Nich Larosa, John Suarez, Ross Loevy, Joyce Fry, Laura Mocabese, Ann Grana, John Silberhorn, Aric Schreiner and Sharon Moses.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Have you ever been in a real fire before?
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Author/Speaker/That guy with the nametag