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.

  • Lightening the Networking Time Load One of the challenges of networking is that it can be very time consuming. Attending events, making calls, chatting over coffee — they can all add up to a lot of time if you aren’t careful. The problem is, making friends does take time. Trying to shortcut it in business has about the same chance ...
  • Venue Review: Whole Foods Market OK, I’ll admit that this one took me by surprise. Leave it to my good friend Megan Torrance of TorranceLearning to teach me something new. We met this morning for coffee at the grocery store — Whole Foods Market. OK, it’s a high-end grocery store, but it’s still a grocery store. So, what did I think? Here’s ...
  • Livescribe Echo Smart Pen: Networking Tool? When I am at a one-to-one meeting with a networking contact, I often take notes. My memory isn’t bad, necessarily, but when someone starts rattling off a list of people in their target market, I usually can only remember one or two. The problem is that in the heat of the conversation, taking notes still ...
  • What if They Don’t Want to Play? You go to a networking event and meet some really cool people. You get their cards and when you get home you enter them into your contact system. The next day, you give them a call to set up a coffee or lunch. Your goal is only to get to know them a little better. They ...
  • What is Their Expertise?Is this your insurance agent?When I met with Lois Weinblatt, Lead Concierge of Zingerman’s Professional Presents department, we got to talking about cheese. Now, I am not a foodie. I enjoy good tasting food, but for me to pick out a one-year versus a four-year aged cheddar would be a bit beyond my abilities. Nonetheless, ...
  • Professional Presents, Personal Touch Just one of the possible gifts from Zingerman’s I had a wonderful opportunity the other day to sit down with Lois Weinblatt, the Lead Concierge of the Professional Presents department at Zingerman’s mail order┬áhere in Ann Arbor. Lois and I met at a networking event where I had actually won a gift basket that she had put ...
  • What’s All the Excitement?“We lost power.” or “Ooo, pretty!” — you decide.If you listen to the radio or open the newspaper (or your favorite electronic equivalent), it seems like the world is full of bad news. Disasters, calumny, scandal, economic catastrophe, and crime seem to be all that we hear about. My Karate instructor, Grandmaster Hafner refers to ...
  • Finding the ShortcutsDid someone push the “up” button for the elevator?OK, I know you might be getting tired of these posts, but I was boring someone to tears with my stories of Dragon*Con the other day and another networking concept popped into my head. Bear with me. I’m sure that I will work this out of my ...
  • The Art of Gifting One of the assumptions that beginning networkers have is that giving gifts to people in their network automatically builds a stronger relationship. Maybe. True, if done correctly, giving presents can be a valuable part of good networking practice. Done poorly, however, the best you can hope for is that it won’t have any effect at all. Let’s ...
  • Fixing What Went WrongDragon*Con line. It’s hard to see here, but the attendees enter the hotel near the white van at the bottom of the photo. At the top, just under the trees, you can see the line extends out of sight.OK, it’s another story about my visit to Dragon*Con and the various networking concepts I uncovered there. For those who ...
  • Remember, It’s About Them Not long ago when I was speaking at a Chamber event, one of the audience members asked me about the best way to communicate. She was interested in particular in the difference between electronic and handwritten media. I told her then — and I still believe — that a handwritten note is more meaningful than ...
  • The Schmoozer vs The Networker Someone recently asked me what the difference was between schmoozing and networking. Could you do one and not the other? Was one better than the other? It was a great question, so I thought I would address it here. Looking at the actual definitions of each, schmoozing is a Yiddish word meaning the act of light, ...
  • First Things First Lisa and I were having a discussion today about how we were going to approach clearing out our basement. We’re contemplating having some work done down there and we need to move out everything we can. The thing is, as with most homes, taking stuff out of one location means making room for it in ...
  • The Party Guest List My good friend Angela Kujava of Logic Solutions sent me a note not long ago about an experience she had regarding her company’s recent anniversary event. They had invited a number of their customers and encouraged them to bring along anyone they wanted as guests. The resulting guest list included the original customers, business partners, ...
  • So, Why Should I Go?Probably not a good group for supervillains (for those who are unaware, these are all superheroes)By the way, did I mention that I went to Dragon*Con over the Labor Day weekend? I just wanted to make sure that no one missed out on that subtle detail. I know I may only have mentioned it once in ...
  • The Dangers of CultureOne of these things is not like the other…Dragon*Con was a great experience as a vacation, but also as an example of how the concepts of good networking can play out in the real world (or at least as real as an event which involves people dressing up in costume can be). One aspect of ...
  • Feeling Comfortable with Your Alter EgoThis guy not only stole my look, but his networking skills needed a lot of work, too.While my friend Tim and I were down in Atlanta for Dragon*Con, Tim happened to strike up a conversation with one of the locals. This gentleman told my buddy that he actually looked forward to this annual congregation of geeks — ...
  • Networking: Sometimes You Have to Give It a RestI don’t think they want to network.I just got back from my annual pilgrimage to Atlanta for the Dragon*Con Science Fiction Convention. Just me and around 40,000 of my best geek friends having a lot of fun and meeting the folks who bring us all of the wonderful stories that we enjoy so much. As an ...
  • Did You Ask? Yesterday we talked about some of the options you have when you want to help a networking partner, but can’t for whatever reason refer actual business to them. Among that list we had ideas such as volunteering your time or inviting them to an event. What happens, though, if none of those ideas seem like ...
  • What Can You Do? I’ve chatted with a lot of people about good networking practice and one of the questions that pops up quite frequently is: “I would really like to help other people, but I don’t know anyone who needs what they are selling.” While, it’s true, referrals are a great way to help your networking partners, it ...