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.

  • 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 ...
  • Myth: The More You Meet There’s a myth in networking that goes something like “The more people you meet, the more referrals you get”. This would be technically correct if you added “All other things being equal” to the beginning of the sentence. Of course, the statement says nothing about the quality of those referrals. Nor does it say anything about the ...
  • Referrals, By the Numbers: 38:40 You’ve probably heard that getting new business through referrals is a Good Thing. I never really understood how good until I attended an educational preview class for the Certified Networker training program down in Toledo, Ohio on Friday. The presenter, Debby Peters (also, my mom), had a great visualization to put everything in perspective. I’ll do ...
  • Your Outer Circles Yesterday we talked about your networking inner circle — those folks whom you know, who know you, and with whom you can exchange referrals regularly. They’re the ones you should be spending a lot of time working with and cultivating. Great. So what about your “outer circle”? Should you just ignore them? Of course not. While your ...
  • Your Inner Circle I’ve often said that good networkers have to be strategic. With only a limited amount of time to network, you have to put your time and energy where it will do the most good. That being said, not all networking connections are equal. You will need to focus more of your effort on your “inner ...
  • Centers of Influence I always recommend that if you are joining a large organization, to find a way to be a part of a smaller group within the organization. If you attend an event be sure to chat with and thank the organizers. If you are invited to a charity gala, do more than attend, volunteer. Now, these are ...
  • Bringing Yourself Up a Level I had breakfast this morning with a great new friend, Fritz Seyferth. Fritz has a business coaching practice where he helps companies improve their practices by helping them discover their underlying team identity and then helping to get the entire team working toward common goals. If you ever get a chance to chat with him, ...
  • The Limits of Social Media Sites Which feels more connected, shaking hands and looking each other in the eye, or “poking” them on Facebook? Which feels more powerful, sitting down to coffee or sending a LinkedIn message? Which feels more emotionally intimate, giving your child a hug (even if he’s an adult) or sending him a tweet? I’m not against social media ...
  • Networking with the Same Old Crowd It can happen to any of us. You show up at the monthly networking lunch and you suddenly realize that you know everyone there. In fact, you don’t remember seeing a new person at the event for the past couple of times. Maybe it’s time to leave group and search for some greener pastures. Maybe. Maybe ...
  • Remind Them of Us We already talked about how important it was for us to remember the people we speak with at a networking event. Using their name and, in particular, the name they choose to go by, will really help us stand out amongst the networking crowd. So, here’s another quick tip: Help them remember us. We’ve all been in ...
  • Networking Partners: Who Should We Bring? Yesterday we talked about the many benefits of inviting a partner to attend a networking event with you. From keeping each other accountable to helping out with introductions, the combination of your networking skills will be much greater than the sum of the parts. So, now that I’ve (hopefully) convinced you of the value of the ...
  • You Don’t Have to Network Alone A lot of people have a hard time walking into a networking event all by themselves. To them it feels as if all eyes are upon them and they are vastly outnumbered. Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to walk in with a friend instead? Suddenly you aren’t in a room of strangers. You’ll ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Lurking Silent SitterThis is the another in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Lurking Silent Sitter Environment: Attending a networking event, usually seated in the corner and hating every minute of it. Behavior: The Lurking Silent Sitter is often a newcomer to networking. She feels uncomfortable with the whole process and is only doing it because she “has to”. As a ...
  • Where Do You Sit? With your networking practice, are you building a front porch or are you building a deck? One of my favorite authors, J. Michael Straczynski, claimed that people building decks were the beginning of the downfall of our society. Where before we would sit out on our front porch in the evening and greet and know our ...
  • Personalize Your Networking Style In the martial arts we have a general training concept which goes something like:Memorization: Learn the techniques Practice: Fine-tune and perfect your execution of the techniques Personalize: Adapt these techniques to fit your personal styleNetworking is much the same. I’ve written a lot about specific techniques, from setting the goals before going to an event to asking ...
  • Does Your Network Make You Indispensable? I’ve been reading Seth Godin‘s newest book, “Linchpin“. In it he talks about the value of being indispensable. Basically, if you aren’t, you’d better watch out, because there are a lot of people out there willing to do your job for cheaper. Now, whether you are indispensable in your business or job is up to you ...
  • Share Your Excitement Lisa and I went to a Mud Hens minor league baseball game tonight down in Toledo. It was part date and part networking (the U of Toledo Alumni Association organized the event). We met a number of lovely and interesting folks including one gentleman named Bob. Bob was a lot of fun. He had retired about ...
  • The Golden Rule in Networking If you think about it, good networking really comes down to the Golden Rule (you know, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you”). If you are contemplating doing something in a networking venue, how would you feel to have that same thing done unto you? Would you like to have a business ...
  • Keeping It Upbeat You probably know someone like this. You say hello. They say hello. You say “How are you?” They proceed to tell you exactly how miserable their life really is. At first you have sympathy for them. Then you desperately try to change the subject, which just reminds them of something else which is going wrong ...
  • Business Cards — Why They Are Important OK, some who’ve been reading this blog for a while might be under the impression that I don’t think business cards are important. That’s not true. I just don’t think they are important for the reasons that everyone else thinks they are important. Most people think that business cards are designed to bring in business. The ...