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.

  • The Networking Dance “When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” ~ Wayne Dyer Each year, as a family, we get together at a nearby campground for the Memorial Day weekend. The park we’ve been to for the last few years, Groveland Oaks, lines ...
  • Jelly Making and the Networking Practice “Experience is the teacher of all things.” ~ Julius Caesar The crabapple tree is going crazy this year. It started producing fruit early and with gleeful abandon. That means that I’ve been jelly making — a lot. I just finished my 70th pint jar for the season and I still have close to a bushel of fruit in ...
  • Networking Groups, Put Out the Welcome Mat “Great men show politeness in a particular way; a smile suffices to assure you that you are welcome, and keep about their avocations as if you were a member of the family.” ~ John James AudubonWelcome home. That should be the clarion call for every networking group. Visitors, new members, or even those who’ve joined but attend ...
  • Bad Excuses: I don’t have time I’m in Grand Rapids, Michigan this week, working with the folks at the Michigan Recruiting and Retention Network’s annual convention, teaching them about the importance of developing great networks and giving them some tools to use while doing it. These are the recruiters and physician liaisons who work tirelessly to bring in and retain the ...
  • Personal Networking Story: The Little Things Pay Off I’m always a little suspicious of analogies. Don’t get me wrong. They can be great tools to help explain complex concepts. The problem I have is when people try to use them to prove a point. That’s when you have to put on your balderdash detector to make sure someone isn’t trying to sell you ...
  • Curiosity, Curiosity, Curiosity There’s the old joke about the three most important qualities when buying a house — location, location, location. In a similar manner, there are three qualities you must have to be successful as a networker — curiosity, curiosity, curiosity. I’m not talking about being curious about how the other person can help you, but rather a ...
  • The Electronic Squirrel “Squirrel!” ~ Doug the Dog from “Up” Our electronic distractions are all around us. A young mother is in a restaurant with her three children. Her back is to them as she talks on her cell phone. An extended group of family and friends is on the shuttle to airport parking. Each adult has their eyes glued ...
  • Your List of Little ThingsIt was Magic. We recently took our daughters, Kaylie (7) and Abby (4) to Disney World for a short vacation. It was our second evening there and we were sitting on Main Street USA waiting for Mickey’s Electrical Parade to begin. This is the nighttime parade with brightly lighted floats. From our vantage, we could see things ...
  • Riding the Roller CoasterWe whooped and hollered through the curves, screamed as we hurtled down the hills, and when we finally arrived back at the loading zone of Goofy’s Barnstormer Ride at the Magic Kingdom, we all had huge grins on our faces. Except for my four-year-old, Abby. Please understand, I did not force her to ride on this ride. ...
  • Tending the Fire“In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~ Albert Schweitzer In my last post, we talked about the similarities between networking and starting a fire and how, ...
  • Starting the FireI’m constantly amazed at the number of relatively commonplace activities that mirror or point to important concepts of a good networking practice. Take campfires, for example.A few times over the course of the summer, we’ll have a little campfire in the backyard. The girls love it. We’ll roast hot dogs, drink lemonade, and, of course, ...
  • Waiting at the AirportThat is not my flightI glanced at the information board over my gate. My flight time was now thirty minutes later than originally scheduled. Mildly frustrating, but time to sit and think. I can read a book. I can get some other activities done (like writing this post). I can even chat with the ticket agent, the baggage handler, ...
  • Caring and Compassion“Good luck out there.” The words were right, but as I walked away, something didn’t feel right about the exchange. For the past couple of days I’ve been staying at a casino where I helped present a program on networking and business development. I needed to change a twenty so I had tip money for the return ...
  • Top 10 Reasons to Sell at the Networking EventRepeat after me: Networking is not sales. Of all the mistakes people make in their networking practice (consciously or unconsciously), this one is probably the biggest. You see it all the time — people running around handing out cards, passing out brochures, and trying to “always be closing”. There must be a reason for it, right? ...
  • Focusing the Out-Of-Control NetworkerCompletely under control“Concentrate all your thoughts upon the work at hand. The sun’s rays do not burn until brought to a focus.”~ Alexander Graham BellOver the weekend, on a visit to Grandma Debby’s house, we went on a sledding adventure. We donned our winter gear and headed to the local hill — a real beaut ...
  • Practice Your Networking WeaknessesGee, do you think he practiced that?“I’ve always considered myself to be just average talent and what I have is a ridiculous insane obsessiveness for practice and preparation.” ~ Will Smith At the end of our advanced Karate class last night, the instructor had us all sit down in our best seated splits. Looking around at the ...
  • 9 Reasons to Network Early, Part 3 of 3Perhaps we should have arrived earlier“How did it get so late so soon? Its night before its afternoon. December is here before its June. My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?” ~ Dr. Suess So here we are at the final installment of why you should show up to ...
  • 9 Reasons to Network Early, Part 2 of 3“It gets late early out there.” ~ Yogi Berra Showing up early is one of the easiest and most powerful techniques for success when attending networking events. Last time we talked about three of the nine reasons to show up early: Own the room, double your networking time, and free your hands to be ready to ...
  • 9 Reasons to Network Early, Part 1 of 3“It’s just as easy to be ten minutes early as ten minutes late.” Do you remember Mom telling you that? That was right after “Never talk to strangers” and right before “If you keep making that face it will get stuck that way.” I don’t know about the other two, but let’s talk about that first ...
  • 3 Reasons for Systematic NetworkingAre you ready to fly?When I was a computer programmer, my life was all about systems. I mean, that’s basically what a programmer does — create systems so that the computer can take care of repetitive tasks without (much) human intervention. The thing about systems is, it helps people perform consistently at a higher level ...