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.

  • Pay Attention! Luke: Pay attention to me! As I wrote, a few weeks ago we had to say goodbye to our cat Ray. It was sad for us, but it’s been even harder on his brother Luke. They weren’t completely inseparable, but they were very close and Luke is feeling the absence. This has made him a little ...
  • [Updated] Event Review: Early Edition (formerly Morning Edition) I got some good response from my reviews of potential networking venues, despite the fact that the locations are fairly local to Ann Arbor. So in a similar vein, I am going to do the occasional review of repeated networking events. I will focus on those events ...
  • Friends and Family My family: Who are these people? We focus so much on using our networking skills to make our business lives more successful. We choose our groups and events to put us in a position to connect with our clients or (even better) those who would put us in touch with our clients. We make our calls and ...
  • See You Tomorrow? “I’m at the park. Where are you?“ I had a big client meeting this morning. This was a site visit with the funding agencies for a project I am working on through my old business. I was to be there at 10am to help with any technical issues that might/always do crop up when you demo ...
  • But What Have You Done Lately? I bet he’s got a story or two I know I’ve said over and over that you should always be focusing on the other person. You should ask them questions and be interested in their responses. You should look for ways to support them in both their personal and professional life. At the same time, when it ...
  • The Dangers of the Sales Mind Watch out for this common trap So, you’re at a networking event and find yourself chatting with two people. One of them is a perfect client for you. Oh, they don’t realize it yet, but with a little careful questioning, they’ll discover that they need about a hundred of your widgets. Wouldn’t that be a great ...
  • Future Focus It had to grow this big.  It didn’t start out this way. Today I was working with my friend and business advisor, Jim Woods of LST Advisors, LLC. I really enjoy my sessions with him. For a couple of hours, I get to set aside the day-to-day requirements of working in my business in order to spend some time ...
  • Be Curious, Be Observant Bill’s choice of “flair” was bound to prompt some questions. For some folks, starting a conversation with a stranger can be almost as painful as hitting their thumb with a hammer — though perhaps with a bit less cursing. How do you break the ice and go from two people just standing next to each other ...
  • Venue Review: Marnee Thai I met a new friend, Ted Belding of Belding Consulting, Inc, for a one-to-one lunch today. We met at one of my favorite downtown restaurants, Marnee Thai. Ted is pretty much a certified genius. I mean, he and I both cut our teeth in the Computer Science Department at University of Michigan. I’m no slouch ...
  • The Networking Event Toolkit A few days ago I wrote about having rituals which would support your networking practice. One of the things we mentioned was setting out the material you might need for a networking event the night before — your networking event toolkit, so to speak. So, what sorts of things should (or could) be included in that ...
  • The Ever-Evolving Networker Some habits you should break. Others you want to establish. We’ve covered more than a few techniques, systems, and behaviors over these many months. Some of these you are probably already doing and feel quite comfortable with. There are probably one or two that you aren’t doing, though. So when are you going to give them a try? One of ...
  • It was Only a Joke Humor has its place in networking. After all, no one wants to be around someone who always has a dour look on their face. That being said, though, we have to make sure that our attempts at humor don’t violate what our networking partners would consider acceptable. Some of this is pretty obvious. Obviously, racial, ethnic, ...
  • Personal Networking: Bruce Webb I had coffee with a new friend today. His name is Bruce Webb and he is a Real Estate Consultant at Coldwell Banker Preferred Realtors. He’s what you’d call a mega-networker. He runs not one, but two different monthly networking events in the Plymouth/Livonia area of Michigan. He also maintains a huge list of small businesses which ...
  • Being a Good Steward I was down at Keith Hafner’s Karate tonight. We were having our monthly meeting of the student assistant teachers. Grandmaster Hafner often touches on a variety of life lessons in these meetings. Tonight we were talking about money and how it can be a powerful force for either good or ill. One of the points ...
  • Networking Rituals Networking rituals don’t have to be this complex. According to the online Mirriam-Webster dictionary, one of the definitions of the word “ritual” is “an act or series of acts regularly repeated in a set precise manner”. Could employing some networking rituals make us more effective at developing good relationships? Maybe. People employ rituals in all aspects of their ...
  • Addressing the Envelope I mentioned not too long ago that I had visited with my new friend, Lois Weinblatt, Lead Concierge at the Zingerman’s Professional Presents department. Lois is an amazingly accomplished networker — able to make anyone she meets feel special and appreciated. She showed that when, not long after my visit with her, she sent me an invitation ...
  • The Other Nine Lepers Lisa, Kaylie and I went to church at St Francis of Assisi this morning. The homily was about the passage in Luke regarding Jesus healing the ten lepers. According to the story, after he had healed them, Jesus sent the ten to the priests so that they could see what had happened. Only one of ...
  • Nothing to Show You aren’t getting any referrals. Oh, you are doing a lot of networking. For some reason, though, all the work you are putting into strengthening your ties with your connections doesn’t seem to be paying off. What’s the point of all of this networking stuff anyway? Sometimes you think it would be better to take out ...
  • Have a Plan for Every Networking Encounter One of the basic rules of networking at an event is to have a goal when you walk in. Having one helps focus your efforts. It tell you what you will accomplish so that showing up isn’t wasting your time. It also tells you when you are done networking and can go home (or head ...
  • The Garden Past Its Harvest I look out the window at our vegetable garden. From here I can see a single tomato starting to ripen. It’s October and this is the only real tomato that we’ve seen this year (those cherry tomatoes don’t really count). I remember past years when that garden would produce a counter full of vegetables, especially tomatoes. ...