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.

  • 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. ...
  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...