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.

  • 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 Sitter This 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 style Networking 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 ...
  • Wear Your Flair OK, for those of you who are fans of the movie “Office Space” will chuckle at this idea, but wearing a little “flair” can make attending events a little more fun. If you also have a hard time starting conversations, a little flair can help break the ice. Now, I do not recommend wearing suspenders with 37 ...
  • Remember Them OK, this is an easy one. When you meet someone at an event, remember their name. Specifically remember their name as they gave it to you, not necessarily as it is on their name badge. If he introduces himself as “Bob”, then call him “Bob”, not “Robert”. If she says “Elizabeth”, don’t assume she responds to ...
  • Associate Good Feelings When someone decides to use a networking event for selling, one of the things I will often see them do is use an “elevator pitch” to ask probing questions designed to uncover specific needs. The problem with this is that it is effectively asking the other person: “So, tell me about this pathetic excuse you ...
  • Targeting a Community We’re visiting my folks up in Manistee, Michigan for the Independence Day holiday. This town really does it up right for the Fourth of July. In fact, they have a full insert in the paper with the schedule of events from Thursday through Sunday. I want to draw you attention to one of the activities ...
  • Who’s Your Next Golden Connection? See if this scenario sounds familiar. Not for you, of course, but I’m sure you can think of someone to whom this applies. You are attending a networking mixer. You’ve already figured out that your target market is real estate agents in the local area (within 30 miles). You have a service that could really help ...
  • Money is the Echo of Value More golden nuggets from the Bob Burg “Endless Referrals” event on Wednesday. Bob had a great saying: “Money is the echo of value.” Value is the lightning, money is the thunder. You can’t get the thunder to show up before the lightning. For us, “money” is any benefit we hope to gain from networking. Whether it ...
  • I Have a Networking Dream While this post is a bit tongue in cheek, I hope the underlying goals still speak to your heart. I have a dream. It’s not a particularly grandiose or profound dream as some others you might have heard. Still, someday, I hope this dream comes true. This is a networking dream. I have a dream that someday I ...
  • Social Media as a Crutch Lisa and I attended Bob Burg‘s “Endless Referrals” presentation in Southfield on Wednesday morning. As usual, Bob put on an amusing and educational show. He has a polished repertoire and rarely did his commentary fall short of expectations. I thought one of the points he made was particularly important. He was talking about social media — ...
  • Interaction or Interruption Thinking about it, which do you remember more clearly, the last television commercial you saw (interruption) or the last phone call you had with a friend (interaction)? How about the last billboard (interruption) or the last coffee with a networking contact (interaction)? What about the last piece of direct mail advertising (interruption) or the last ...