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.

  • 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 Networking Martin’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 Yourself Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should I 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 ...
  • Be a Joiner, A Through E You are already a member of a few groups, both personal and professional. You joined them for the great networking and the many business opportunities which they’ve made available to you. After all, why else would you join a group, right? Well, let’s face it, there are groups and there are groups. Each has it’s own ...
  • Which is Mightier, The Keyboard or the Pen? During the question and answer section of my presentation at the Milan Chamber on Friday, one of the audience members asked me what my opinion of electronic versus handwritten communication mechanisms. I think it’s a great question. Let’s take a look at some of the different channels and see where they can be used to ...
  • Does Size Matter? I spoke at the Milan Chamber‘s networking breakfast on Friday morning. I got a warm response and met a lot of great people. Milan is a much smaller venue than my usual haunts — the Ann Arbor/Ypsilanti Regional Chamber — about one-tenth the size. As a result I noticed a lot of differences between the ...
  • Where Everybody Knows Your Name I always loved the old “Cheers” theme song, “Sometimes you want to go, where everybody knows your name…” It’s a great sentiment for a neighborhood hangout, but how does it do for networking? I was at an event today where I had already met every single person in the room at some point or another. So, ...
  • What’s Your Definition? One of the challenges of talking about networking is the general lack of a unified definition. If one person is thinking networking is about sales and the other thinks it is about service, they might find themselves working at cross purposes. I’ve listed some of the definitions I’ve found below. You don’t necessarily have to ...
  • Speaking for Fun and Profit, Part 3: Call to Action Give them a call to action to get them marching in step. In parts one and two of this series, we talked about the two main types of presentations in networking and a few techniques on how to make our speeches more enjoyable and memorable for our audiences. Now, the question is: What do you get out ...
  • Speaking for Fun and Profit, Part 2: General Good Ideas Yesterday we talked about the two types of presentations you might make in a networking context. They basically broke down to ones about your business and ones about your expertise. Each has its place. Today let’s talk about some of the techniques that will help make your talk better. Avoid PowerPoint like the plague. You will ...
  • Speaking for Fun and Profit, Part 1: Types of Presentation I’ve got a couple of speaking opportunities lined up for the coming week, so presenting to a group as a part of a networking practice is much on my mind. We’ve spoken earlier about how you can use speaking as an opportunity to get your audience to know you. Let’s delve a little more into ...