The Reluctant Networker Blog by Greg Peters

We all know that networking — or word-of-mouth — is one of the best ways to grow a business. But what if you don’t know where to start? What if you don’t know what to say? What if the other kids laugh at you? We can help.

  • One-to-Ones: Where? Part 1 The old stand-by If there is one activity that is really the center of good networking practice, that would be the one-to-one meeting. This is just an opportunity for two people to get together for thirty minutes to an hour in order to learn more about each other and how they can help each other. Obviously, ...
  • Are You Happy? Just a quick note today. I was walking past my wife watching “Oprah” the other day and they were doing a show on happiness. At the point where I walked in the room, they had just asked the audience to choose from four different professions, which was the happiest: Clergy, firefighter, special education teacher, or travel ...
  • What an Invitation! It doesn’t have to be an engraved invitation, just a clear and personal one. My good friend, Jacki Hollywood Brown, expert organizer and founder of J-organize, told me about an experience she had recently. The director of a women’s networking group in her area contacted her, inviting her to a “guest day” for the group. OK, that’s not ...
  • When to Use the Golden Rule in Networking No, not that Golden Rule. “Do unto others, etc, etc” is a great rule to apply to networking — in general. Believe it or not, it doesn’t work in all situations. Here’s what I’ve noticed. When it comes to networking technique or how we treat others, the Golden Rule actually works out pretty well. I think a lot of ...
  • Good Neighbors, Good Networking One of the qualities the best networkers share is a willingness to give without expectation of return. They pass referrals, do favors, make recommendations, even pay for lunch, and never once do they stop to keep score. Somehow they know that the “score” will take care of itself in the long run, so there’s no ...
  • Networking Like a Snow Day Snow-maggedon, snow-pocalypse, snow-zilla, snOMG, snowprahWinfrey. Whatever you want to call it, we had a mild blizzard up here in the Ann Arbor area. Nothing serious, just seven or eight inches of blowing and drifting snow. We’ve definitely seen a lot worse in the past. The good thing about the storm was that it was so well ...
  • Beyond the Tipping Point Sometimes the tipping point can be trouble Yesterday we talked about the word-of-mouth tipping point. This is the moment where our networking starts rolling almost under its own power and the benefits start rolling in almost without us having to try at all. Believe it or not, this can actually be a mildly perilous time for some ...
  • The Word-of-Mouth Tipping Point After you get past that first hill things get exciting. Networking is slow. There I said it. It’s the dirty little secret of the word-of-mouth world. If we are looking for a quick fix in the level of business we receive, this is not the path for us. Networking is work. We must make the initial connections, develop the ...
  • The Failure of Prioritizing Behavior Do you spend your time on networking or work-working? One of the challenges of networking in a business context is trying to prioritize where we devote our time. Which is more important, the networking or the work? To solve this quandary, many folks try to prioritize their behavior. Now, I think that prioritizing is a great practice ...
  • The Networking Focus I’ve been training in the martial arts for about thirteen years now. In that time I’ve learned a thing or two. Sometimes that lesson happened at the same time as someone’s foot connecting to the side of my head. If you can avoid lessons like that, I highly recommend it. One of the hardest things for new ...
  • Event Review: Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing A lunchtime one-to-one had to cancel suddenly this week. That left an opening between two meetings with nothing to do. Fortunately, it was Wednesday and I was in downtown Ann Arbor. That meant Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing (LA2M) was about to start. Here’s a quick review. Name: Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing (LA2M) Organization: LA2M Location: Conor O’Neill’s Celtic Room, 318 ...
  • Someone Like Me Networking is all about creating connections. We seek out commonalities in order to bridge the isolation that almost everyone feels at one time or another. In fact, some of the best event techniques involve asking questions in order to find those common points of interest. As a result, we end up with a strong, supportive ...
  • Stand Up and Speak (Well)! I was at a great networking event today (more on that at a later date). As a part of this event, we had a “pass the microphone” segment. A lot of events do this — with or without the microphone. For some reason I got caught up in watching the various behaviors as each person ...
  • Knowledge versus Belief Who else is behind this victory? One of the challenges of networking for a lot of people (including myself at times) is the old knowledge versus belief problem. We know that the best long-term strategy to succeed in our business and personal life is developing strong relationships through networking. The problem is we don’t always believe it. What else ...
  • Their Favorite Words I think I’m on page 3 My good friend Sandy Pirwitz, Assistant Director and Trainer for BNI commented on my post of a couple of days ago regarding other networking opportunities afforded by the various social media sites. Her whole comment is great, but there was a specific part that stood out to me. She said: …For ...
  • Setting the Example We can only point them to the path. They have to walk it themselves. I was speaking to a friend of mine a few months ago about networking. We were talking about an event he had attended recently. He had walked out feeling frustrated because, as he put it, “no one knows how to network right.” He’d ...
  • Is Facebook Networking? I just finished with my nightly forays into the world of Facebook. I usually spend fifteen or twenty minutes checking in on what my friends are doing and seeing if anyone else has “liked” my Reluctant Networker fan page. The question remains, though, can we consider Facebook (or any of the social media sites for ...
  • What’s in a Name? I had to go in for a root canal today. Now, I know for many of us the words “root canal” bring up images of profound torture — of agony and vulnerability which sear the soul and bring grown men to tears. And a good many of us have never had to go through the procedure. So you ...
  • Sales, Marketing or Networking When attending a networking event we have three basic attitudes we can adopt. Each has its own advantages. Sometimes, though, the disadvantages of an attitude should steer us in a different direction (especially when we evaluate them from a “golden rule” perspective). Let’s look at the three approaches. Sales. We advertise our services and look for people ...
  • You’ve Got to have Chemistry We’ve all run into this situation. We meet someone. On paper we have everything in common. We should hit it off right away. For some reason, though, we just don’t click. The chemistry isn’t there. Our personalities clash for some reason and sometimes you don’t even know exactly why. OK, sometimes the guy is just a ...