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.

  • Maybe One More Benefit: Improved Intelligence? My friend Luis Albright posted a link on Facebook to this article in The Telegraph. It was a story about how relative to their size, dogs brains have grown faster than cat brains. Of course, the supposition is that the larger the brain relative to the body size, the higher the potential intelligence. Whether you ...
  • New Things A long-time dear friend, Torun Moore, and her great kids stopped by for a visit this evening. I’ve known Torun since third grade. She lives in Virginia now, so we don’t get to see each other often, but we do try to stay in touch and visit whenever possible. Tonight when she showed up she ...
  • Another Way to Support the Group We’ve talked before about the importance of supporting the groups you join. Volunteer to help at events, write articles for the newsletter, or even hold a position in the leadership. That’s all good. Now I’m going to suggest a technique which can be just as powerful. Invite a guest. Listen, above all else, an organization exists to ...
  • How to Find a Contact Sphere We talked about contact spheres yesterday. Basically these are the group of businesses who also serve you target market, but don’t compete with you. They tend to make good networking partners since the clients for one can often be clients for the other. OK, so you’ll probably agree that these are pretty cool. Now the trick ...
  • Contact Spheres As I understand, Dr. Ivan Misner, the founder of BNI coined the term “contact sphere” in his book, The World’s Best Known Marketing Secret: Building Your Business With Word-of-Mouth Marketing. It’s an idea that a lot of new networkers miss out on so I thought I would pass it along. Essentially, a contact sphere is the group of ...
  • Networking Over CarpetHe was working so hard I couldn’t get him to look at the camera. Such dedication!We’ve been having a little bit of work done on our basement lately, including having new carpet installed. We purchased our carpet from the local GCO carpet outlet store. When we did, they gave us the names of some installers in ...
  • But I’m not a Systems Person! Just another system I was having coffee with a good friend the other day when the conversation turned to the concept of using systems in networking. She admitted that she understood how valuable they were, but that she wasn’t really a systems person so she could never seem to get them to stick. That being the ...
  • What are You Going to Write About this Week? Yesterday we talked about using writing as a part of your networking practice. Your written “voice” can strengthen connections through testimonials and Gratitude Notes. It can build your reputation through blogs and articles, and it can maintain a low-level “touch” through a regular newsletter. Now, most people don’t have a problem with writing an occasional ...
  • What Did You Write Today? My friend Scott Ginsberg, a master on the topic of approachability, maintains that writing is the basis for all wealth. Writing down our thoughts forces us to clarify them. Jotting down our plans helps us discover the flaws so that we can have a better chance of succeeding. Putting pen to page (or fingers to ...
  • Breaking Through with Confidence Down at the Karate school where I train, we have the occasional board-breaking seminar. My instructor, Master Jason Hafner preps the students for their big moment by spending some time talking about all of the technical aspects of actually breaking a board. He covers body-weight shifting, targeting, proper hand or foot position, follow-through, board position, ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Downy Doom and Gloomer“And then I swallowed my gum.”This is the another in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Downy Doom and Gloomer Environment: Standing under a little storm cloud all their own. Behavior: The Downy Doom and Gloomer is a close relative of the Cacophonous Chatterbox. They both tend to monopolize conversation with no concern for anyone else in the group. ...
  • The Artist’s StoryThese are not the only tools for the artist.As I mentioned yesterday, Lisa and I attended an “Entrepreneur’s Expo” on Friday night. One of the more memorable people we met was Keith Paris, a local artist whose particular focus is three dimensional art — basically imagine a painting with raised and textured surfaces. His work ...
  • A Vision of EntrepreneursI thought you had the camera.OK, maybe that’s not what you call a group of entrepreneurs — you know, like a pride of lions or a flock of geese or a murder of crows — but it sounds like a possibility to me. Anyway, the reason I bring this up is that Lisa and I attended a ...
  • Giving Back and Ulterior MotivesLook! Advertising! Just like my blog!I had an interesting experience today. As many of you know, some of these posts are reprinted on AnnArbor.com — the electronic successor to the former print newspaper, the Ann Arbor News. I post two articles a week, Mondays and Thursdays. Today something a little different happened. The editors decided to promote ...
  • Networking Lessons From My DaughterReady to networkMy daughter Kaylie is one of the best networkers I’ve ever seen. I suspect that a lot of kids are. I think if we adults paid a little more attention to them and did our best to emulate them, we would have a lot less trouble with our networking practice. Here are just ...
  • You Wanna Start Something? Doing what I do, you would probably guess that I run into networkers of all different levels all the time. Of course, I’m particularly interested in the behavior of those whom I consider to be truly accomplished networkers. I figure the more that I emulate them, the better off I will be. One trait that’s ...
  • Interrupting the Pattern My good friend, Mike Ludlum, and I were having a conversation about networking today. He told me about some challenging folks he had run into at the last networking mixer he had attended. One in particular he referred to as a “drive-by card passer”. This woman basically ran from person to person forcing her business ...
  • The Patience of a Networker? When I went through the Leadership Ann Arbor program a few years ago, one of the things I got to do was go on a ride-along with an Ann Arbor Police Officer. In this case it was officer Steve Dye. One of the things that he said which really stuck with me was “Impatience will ...
  • The Old Bait and SwitchI wish we had the same thing for “networking traps”I’ve been caught by this on more than one occasion, so I’m going to put out a warning to anyone who is just starting out in their networking practice. Please, be aware of the bait-and-switchers. These are the folks who give networking a bad name, because they ...
  • How Quickly Things Change Lisa and I went out to lunch today with a group whom I’ve known for well over a decade (in fact, with some of them, I’m closing in on two decades). We brought along our three-year-old, Kaylie, as we were without a nanny for the day. Now, all of the folks in the group have met ...