Tips for Substitutes

Welcome to BNI Brookline Networkers, the Brookline chapter of BNI (Business
Network International). You have been asked by a member to act as a substitute for that
person. Here are some guidelines to help you become familiar with how we operate.

  • Our meeting runs from 7:00 am to 8:30 am. Come early (around 6:50 am) to network.
  • Meetings are held at100 Centre Streetin Brookline, 10th Floor Dining Room
  • There is free parking on Centre Street and metered parking on Harvard Street
  • Our website is You will find a listing of members and their occupations at this site, as well as directions to the meeting.
  • Sign in with one of the Visitor Hosts when you first come in. S/he can introduce you to members to network with, and give you a name tag.
  • We turn off beepers and cell phones before the start of the meeting. 
  • Help yourself to coffee before the meeting, not during.
  • Bring around 35 business cards and materials to share. You can distribute them by putting them around the big table before the meeting or putting them on another table for people to pick up after the meeting.
  • The person you are subbing for should give you a prepared 50-second speech or notes in advance that you will stand up and say during the 50-Second part of the meeting. E.g., “I’m Susie Smith, and I’m subbing for Lois Lane of XYZ Business…” Make sure you get the presentation from the member before the meeting.
  • If you represent the same profession as the person you are subbing for, work for the same company, or overlap with another member (i.e. are a perceived or potential competitor) you may only give a presentation for the member you are subbing for.
  • When the members give their 50-Second speeches, substitutes stand up at their turn, introduce themselves and give the 50-Second for the member they’re substituting for. After all of the members have finished, the president asks guests and substitutes to give 45-second speeches about their own businesses.
  • If you come late (after the meeting has started) you may give the 50-second for the person you are representing. If you are late after your first visit, you may not give your own 45-second, as we all give up our turns when we are late.
  • We ask people to honor the 45-second limit, and stop speaking when their time is up even if they haven’t finished.
  • Near the end of the meeting, we stand up and give referrals and testimonials. When it is your turn, we encouraged you to stand and say one or two sentences about how you feel about the group, the meeting or the experience.
  • If you don’t come to a meeting after a member has arranged for you to provide
    coverage, it is counted as an absence for that member. 
  • You may not act as a substitute for more than one member at any given meeting.