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.

  • 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 ...
  • Let’s Party! You are a member of several communities in your life. You’ve got your company, various networking groups, your place of worship, etc. Each group has it’s own purpose for being and most will have meetings and events which focus on that purpose. That’s as it should be and each of these meetings will still be ...
  • Myth: The More Cards You Hand Out, The Better Believe it or not, there are still a lot of people who believe that the more cards you hand out, whether you are at a formal networking event, a one-to-one meeting, or in line at the grocery store, the more successful you are at networking. Of course, that networking success will lead to more business ...
  • Avoiding the Lapse in Networking Kaylie, Lisa, JoAnn, and I with friends, Marcia and Gary Housel As I’ve mentioned, we have been out in Pennsylvania for a short family vacation with my wife’s family. We’ve been having a lot of fun, but there’s been one minor challenge: My networking has suffered. Now, missing a week here or there isn’t a huge problem. Networking has ...
  • Old Reconnections As we continue our family vacation in Pennsylvania, this afternoon and evening we visited with old friends of my father-in-law, Joe. Danny and Joe knew each other from when they were kids. They went to school together, played basketball together, and often got in trouble together. We even heard the story of how Joe had ...
  • Kaylie and the Escalator Lisa, Kaylie and I flew off to Pennsylvania for a brief family vacation today. We had a bit of a wait for our ride to the hotel. So while Lisa took a much-deserved rest, I was on chase duty, following my adventurous two-year-old around the terminal. She rapidly discovered the escalators and we spent a good ...
  • Know When to Say No Today a dear friend called me up with a great opportunity. She wanted to offer me a leadership position on a new project that her organization is working on. This is an amazing chance to meet with a lot of people, to help out the group, and to build a lot of good recognition for myself ...
  • More Networking Games I’ve run across one or three additional networking games/activities since the last time we discussed them. Playing card seating — This isn’t so much a game as a particular technique that organizers can use to break up groups who already know each other. As each attendee enters the event, they are dealt a standard playing card. ...