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.

  • 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 Story These 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 Entrepreneurs I 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 Motives Look! 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 Daughter Ready to network My 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 Switch I 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 ...
  • Setting Self-Dependent Networking Goals Why would they jump the bar that you set? I’m a strong proponent of setting goals in your networking practice. Starting with simple goals for attending events, to larger ones about the levels you will reach on your networking scorecard, goals help us achieve the levels of networking activity that we need to accomplish what we desire ...
  • Myth: Networking is Sales Are you trying to meet the sheep or the shepherd? I was attending a networking event this morning — Bruce Webb‘s amazingly awesome Educational Breakfast — when I ran into this particular myth. It was the end of the meeting and everybody was packing up and getting in a last few minutes of conversation. I had been introduced ...
  • Election Day Networking I had an interesting observation the other night while I was doing some research to prepare to head out to vote on Tuesday. I was going through the AnnArbor.com voter guide — reading up on the different candidates for the various offices. I ran into the bio for one gentleman where, in response to every ...
  • Speaking of Speaking I’ve been slowly increasing the number of presentations I give lately. At this point, my selfish reason for doing them is to increase my reputation as someone who knows something about networking. Of course, in the process, I have to establish myself as someone who provides value to those around him (and has value to ...
  • Write, Write and Write Some More We’ve talked already about some of the areas where writing can help in networking. In particular, testimonials and Gratitude Notes can do a lot to deepen an existing relationship. Now let’s think about a different kind of writing. This one is just as complimentary, but mainly because of its venue. In this case it’s the ...
  • Gifts and the Scorecard We’re moving into the gift-giving season for many of us. Whether you celebrate Christmas or not and whether it’s fair or not, this is the time of year that a lot of folks send out their corporate gifts. Here’s the thing, though: If you are sending out the generic corporate gifts to everyone on your ...
  • Thinking About Yourself This post is not about focusing on your needs to the exclusion of and/or cost to others. No matter how you cut it, that is just bad networking. In this case, I am referring to the idea of using yourself as a yardstick to measure your networking behavior. Let me explain. In networking as with most things, your ...
  • Inevitable Delays and Stale Business Cards This morning we launched the newest version of BiblioBouts in the classroom. BiblioBouts is a web-based game which attempts to teach students good research skills. It’s a project I’ve been on for a couple of years now as a part of my old business. Now, I don’t know if you’ve been part of a project launch, ...
  • When? Practice, practice, practice The techniques we talk about here only work if you take responsibility and use them — and use them frequently. Most of them are pretty simple, but not always easy to force ourselves to do. So, when is the next time you can practice your networking style? Will it be in two weeks when you ...