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.

  • Venue Review: Panera Bread I’ve decided to start a new series for this blog which takes a look at different venues for networking and talks about some of the advantages and disadvantages of each. My goal is to help people make good choices on where they can meet for one-to-one chats. Sometimes the location can make a big difference ...
  • Hitting the WallIt’s hard to network though a wallEvery once in a while you run into someone who just doesn’t seem to want to play. You’ve got your networking hat on and are ready to start forming a strong friendship, but all they do is throw up a wall. A little while back, I had an opportunity to ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Eternally Overdue Late Bird“Here I am! Did I miss anything?”This is the another in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Eternally Overdue Late Bird Environment: Running to their next appointment Behavior: The Overdue Late Bird is a close relative of the proverbial Early Bird. The main difference is that while the Early Bird always gets the worm, the Late Bird almost never ...
  • Business Card Shuffle So, you’ve gone to an event. You’ve met and chatted with some remarkable people. You asked for and received their business cards. Now what? Well, I know for me, for many years, those cards would eventually end up in a messy pile on my desk that kept getting deeper and deeper. Eventually the clutter would drive me ...
  • Efficiency One of the challenges of networking is just the amount of time it takes. Also, since you can’t hire someone to build your network for you, it’s your time that it takes. So it behooves us to be as efficient as possible in our networking efforts. Let’s take a look at a couple of behaviors that will ...
  • Networking Cop I was driving home from the store this evening and happened to see someone pulled over to the side of the rode “chatting with” one of Ann Arbor’s finest. She didn’t look happy about it for some reason. I can’t understand it since it looked like he was giving her a greeting card of some ...
  • You’re Never Far From the Ones You Love Yesterday was my forty-third birthday. We didn’t make a particularly big deal out of it. I was scheduled to teach Karate in the morning and again in the afternoon. Then we went down to visit my mom down in Perrysburg. We had a few snacks and then later went over to a friend’s for a ...
  • Attention vs ApproachabilityHi, I’m Bob. Can I be your new accountant? Hello?Tim Householder, a friend of mine and owner of Timothy Wells Photography, commented on yesterday’s post over on The Reluctant Networker Facebook page. He made a good point that there may be communities in which being uncomfortably outrageous is the norm. In fact, those who don’t fit that ...
  • Being Remarkable or Ridiculous? Lately, Kaylie and I have been strolling over to the library in the evening. They have an area full of toys and computers just for kids that she loves to play with. They also have other kids playing there and Kaylie loves other kids. Well, tonight was a particularly busy evening at our branch. There were ...
  • Self-conscious NetworkingMartin’s networking style certainly got him noticed!See if you recognize yourself in this scenario. When I first started attending networking events, I always felt unsure of myself. I worried about what people would think of me. Would they know that I was a complete fraud and without any confidence at all? What would they think of what ...
  • Rev the Engines and Draw Some Attention This morning I met with my good friend Doug Hockstad of the University of Michigan’s Tech Transfer Office. Doug and I have known each other for a while now. We are both alumni of the Leadership Ann Arbor program (class of ’07 rocks!) and he and I are now in a Mastermind group together. The ...
  • Do You Know the Unspoken Rules?We’re here for the Chamber bowling night!I was reading posts over on “Debby Peters, Networking Guru“. She had a really good one on understanding what unwritten rules visitors to your group or event might run afoul of, and how your group would deal with these violations. Check out her post for more details, but this has ...
  • Myth: Referrals Are All About Delivering the Contract A vast majority of people network primarily in order to increase their business. While they achieve this (properly) by seeking to be of service to others first, their overarching goal is to bring in more jobs/projects/money. That’s fine. The challenge this presents is that when it comes to referrals, many people assume that the only ...
  • Planting the Garden OK, sure, it’s kind of an odd time of year to think about planting a garden. Here in Michigan, most of the gardens are a bit past their prime and are starting the slow slide toward the Autumn die-off. Still, seeing all of the plants putting out seed pods has reminded me once again how ...
  • Don’t Do It YourselfJust because you can, doesn’t mean you shouldI don’t know if anyone else is like this, but I know I, at least, have a bad case of Do-It-Yourself. If I think I have the faintest chance of being able to take care of the situation without asking someone else for help, I will — even if ...
  • Be a Joiner, X, Y, and Z OK, we finally made it to the last day of our week-long list of attributes for networking groups which we may be considering. We’ve looked at size, location, membership, and perks. Now, we’re down to the final three. Remember that first and foremost, the group must support your networking goals. If they can’t do that ...
  • Be a Joiner, U, V, and W OK, we’re entering the final turn on this weird and wonderful odyssey to define some of the other characteristics of groups which we should consider when we are thinking about joining up. Of course, we are always looking for fertile ground for our networking, but beyond that we need to make sure that this is an environment ...
  • Be a Joiner, P through T We’ve been considering the various attributes of networking groups other than networking over the past several days. Taking your time to commit to a group is important since you form the best connections over the long term and you don’t want to spend your precious time on a group which doesn’t fit. As always, many of ...
  • Be a Joiner, K through O This is the next installment of the continuing series of the various aspects you should look at when you are considering joining a networking group. Of course you should make sure that the networking opportunities will support your ultimate goals. At the same time, it can be the other attributes which make your membership in ...
  • Be a Joiner, F through J I had so much fun yesterday coming up with a short list of reasons to join groups other than strict networking that I thought I would continue the list again today. In fact, I may stretch my creativity a bit to see if I can complete the whole alphabet (fortunately this gives me a couple ...