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.

  • How Fast do You Go from Zero to Sixty? Networking at a snail’s pace is a good way to limit your success. Waiting to call or write or meet for coffee mainly only accomplishes one thing. It helps them forget you. In fact there are a number of areas in your networking practice which benefit from prompt action. Let’s take a look at a ...
  • Venue Review: Graham’s Restaurant I met with my new friend Audrey Wong Chung today. She and I spoke at Morning Edition, The Ann Arbor-Ypsilanti Regional Chamber’s breakfast networking event last month. She is the founder and CEO of Beliza Design, a fashion company that specializes in luxury goods for men and women (yes, I stole that from the website). ...
  • So, Where Do I Start? Many of us who have been networking for a while already have a fairly large tickler file. We never have a hard time filling up our networking time with telephone calls, email messages, coffees, lunches, and even the occasional breakfast. What about those who are just starting out, though? For them, the idea of having ...
  • Who Do You Serve? We’ve talked many times before about developing a specific target market to help focus our networking. With a target market we can more easily determine which events to attend and which groups to join. The more tightly defined that market, the better our network can refer us. That being said, we have to be careful ...
  • Finding Mentors and Coaches I had a personal victory this morning. I stepped on the scale and discovered for the first time in about a decade my weight was below two hundred pounds. This has been on my goal list for at least the last five years and each year I seemed to be getting just a little further ...
  • Be Friendly Sometimes it just a matter of giving them a big smile. Not long ago, Lisa and I were out running errands. This wasn’t long after I had visited my friend Lois Weinblatt over at Zingerman’s Professional Presents, so I still had that marvelous experience in the back of my head. We had stopped at the grocery store ...
  • The Pitfalls of Social Skill Bob and Carl always had a good time at the Chamber lunches, but never seemed to get any referrals. Janet certainly wasn’t a “reluctant networker”. She loved to network. She attended every event she had time for and could talk with just about anyone she met. She always had a lot of fun and not a few laughs ...
  • Saying Goodbye Ray: I don’t care what it’s for. It’s soft. I’m on it. It’s mine. We’ve shared our house with a pair of cats for over twelve years now. Ray and his brother Luke have been sweet and (in general) pleasant companions on the road of life. Sadly, Ray developed cancer about six months ago and on ...
  • Good Manners Walt’s unique dining style didn’t score any points at the Chamber lunch. It’s the small things which tell others whether or not they want to be associated with us. Oh, OK, if you are an axe murderer or have recently had to make a “perp walk” after bilking retirees out of their life’s saving, that will definitely ...
  • Good Old What’s-His-Name If only remembering their name was this easy. I saw a Facebook update from Shawne Duperon where she talked about what to do if you have forgotten someone’s name in a networking situation. The first thing, of course, is not to be too embarrassed. Unless this is the third time that you’ve had to ask the ...
  • Leaving a Message Just a quick one today. You know how sometimes when you are making your networking calls, you occasionally might end up talking to a machine? OK, first. Leave a message. They know you called. Almost everyone has some sort of caller ID which will show that you did call. If you don’t leave a message, they won’t ...
  • Double up on One-to-Ones Yesterday we talked about some ways to be more efficient with our networking time. One of the methods I listed was doubling up on your one-to-ones. This would be the practice of setting up a coffee or lunch with more than one person. Now, you don’t want a whole horde at the table, but one ...
  • 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 Shortcuts Did 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 ...