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.

  • 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 Wrong Dragon*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 Culture One 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 Ego This 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 Rest I 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 ...
  • 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 Wall It’s hard to network though a wall Every 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 Approachability Hi, 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 ...