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.

  • Lose the Jargon I’ve mentioned in the past that the best thing about a 30-second commercial is that it’s short. You don’t run the risk of boring people too much. Personally, for networking events, I prefer something that is shorter than ten seconds. Even keeping it that short, though, won’t keep their minds from wandering if you cram ...
  • Yes, But What Do You Prefer? I’ve talked, repeatedly, about the importance of having a target market. Having a specific target market helps your networking connections help you better. It gives them a mental picture of what and whom you are seeking. It also helps you focus your networking activity to put you in touch with either members of your target ...
  • You Think You Know Me? You know? I really love pushy telemarketers. Through their inept efforts at establishing rapport in order to sell me something, I can almost come up with a lesson about good networking practice. The star of this particular object lesson was “Robert”. Robert was calling me because he wanted to sell me some sort of “4G” phone/Internet ...
  • Get There Early I read somewhere about territorial behavior among felines. As I recall, it basically said in cats, whoever is in the spot first, owns the spot. I can see this in my cats. When Luke is lying in the window seat, Ray has to almost ask permission before he’s allowed up in the same area. If ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 6: Actually Asking This is the sixth and conceivably final part in this series. Needless to say there have been a few other parts. Feel free to read them if you want, but you won’t need them to understand the concepts addressed here. So, over the last five days we’ve talked about specifying your target market in order to ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 5: Making It Personal This is part five in my series on asking for referrals. I’d recommend that you read the other parts, but you can probably get by without them. Yesterday, we covered some of the other business referral requests we could make beyond asking for more clients. Today I want to remind you that networking isn’t just for ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 4: How Else Can They Help? This is part four in a continuing series on asking for referrals. You may want to check out parts one, two, and three before you continue, but that’s up to you. So in the previous parts we spent some time refining our description of our ideal client. We took a look at our former and current ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 3: A Little Specificity, Please Over the past couple of days we’ve been talking about measures we can take to help our networking partners help us. To that end we are working on being able to specify our ideal clients. Please note, we aren’t talking about the people whom we could help, but rather those whom we prefer to help. You might want ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 2: Narrow Your Focus, Increase Your Business Yesterday we talked about how, when you have the opportunity to express a desire for a referral, a lack of specificity can make it hard for your networking partners to help you. In fact, it might end up being so hard that they decide that the whole thing is just a bad idea and will ...
  • Asking for Referrals, Part 1: Get Rid of “Anybody” One of the benefits of good networking practice is that, every once in a while, you get to tell someone else about who would be a good referral for you. This is your big opportunity. This is when the work of creating a network starts to pay off. Don’t mess it up. Often when people describe their ...
  • Be Open to Receive Good networking is all about being willing to provide value with no expectation of return. You should always be looking for ways you can help other people with pursuing their passions and goals. That being said, be sure you are giving the other person the same opportunity. My good friend and now my business coach, Jim ...
  • Know Who You Are. Know What You Want. In this blog you’ve often heard me talk about the importance of asking questions. Finding out about the other person is a vital aspect of your networking practice. Remember, though, in any conversation, both parties should be talking about the same amount. Of course, you want to learn about them. That’s how you are going to ...
  • Where’s Your Networking Joy? I’ve been thinking more about the mindset we need to bring to networking. So many of us focus on the “working” part of it. We have to go to the event. We have to make the calls. We have to go have coffee. What drudgery. I like Keith Ferrazzi’s approach that he talks about in his ...
  • Having Fun and Networking, Too I know you’ve heard this one before: It’s called net-working, not net-sitting or net-eating. A lot of people take this to heart and pursue their networking with a business-like zeal. You know what, though? Maybe we’ve taken this too much to heart. Maybe we need to think a little bit about “net-playing“. I was meeting with ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Black-Belly Abyss This is the another in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Black-Belly Abyss Environment: Attending any and all networking events, but nowhere else. Behavior: The Black-Belly Abyss is a master of disguise. Wherever he appears, everyone assumes that he is a variation of the Golden-Tailed Networker. His behavior at networking events is nothing short of exemplary. He can carry ...
  • Good Books: Never Eat Alone I just finished re-reading Keith Ferrazzi’s book, “Never Eat Alone: And Other Secrets To Success, One Relationship At A Time“. Please note that I wrote “re-reading”. The book is that good. Now, as you probably already expect, this book is full of great techniques and tips about how to get the most out of networking, including ...
  • Good Things Happen Every day I espouse the benefits of good networking — how providing value for others with no expectation of return eventually does provide a return. Still, I’m occasionally surprised when it happens to me. A couple months ago I was chatting with my good friend Mike Wynn and he mentioned how much he was enjoying this ...
  • Active vs Passive Networking One of the mistakes beginning networkers make is waiting for everyone else to take the first step. They hand out their cards and then sit by the phone, waiting for it to ring. Now, it does happen, once in a great while, but, really, the best networking relationships won’t happen unless you take the first ...
  • Good Customer Service is Good Networking I have been working on moving one of my Cyber Data Solutions clients to a new hosting service. We had run into a challenge or two. The biggest one was that the domain name, “cellochan.com“, was registered with Yahoo Small Business. Unfortunately, while the domain still existed, the account that I needed to make the ...
  • Playing Games, Part 3 So a couple of days ago, we started talking about networking “games” that you might sometimes encounter at various professional gatherings. Then yesterday we took a short break to focus more closely on speed networking. Today let’s finish up the list of some of the games you might encounter. Business card bingo. This one often happens ...