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, 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 ActionGive 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 NetworkingKaylie, Lisa, JoAnn, and I with friends, Marcia and Gary HouselAs 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. ...
  • Who’s That New Guy? When networking within a group, you often need to put in a fair amount of time and effort before it begins to pay off. We’ve talked about that in the past. You need that time to show the other members that you are a serious member who’s always looking for ways to benefit them. Until ...
  • No Such Thing as Nothing to Offer I was inspired by Todd Smith’s blog post tonight about being careful with how you treat everyone in your life, because it all reflects on your reputation. I’m sure you know the old saying about telling how good a person is based on how they treat someone from whom they have nothing to gain. While that ...
  • Be Ready to Tell Them What You Want Picture this. You’re out having lunch with one of your close networking connections. You’ve been having a great time catching up and learning more about each other. Then there’s a pause in the conversation and she asks, “So, how can I help you?” Usually at this point, the limited networker stammers something about wanting to meet ...
  • Be Known for Something If you were to ask the people in your network, what would they say you are famous for? What is your unique skill, topic of expertise, or character trait which comes to mind for them? Whatever it is, that is the reason people will be contacting you. My brother, Andy, loves to go out camping with his ...
  • Reaching Out to be Top of Mind In order for word of mouth marketing to work, you’ve got to be top of mind. It won’t matter at all that you’ve met with hundreds of people in the last year, if they don’t remember you, you might as well have stayed home. So, what can we do to keep ourselves fresh in their ...