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.

  • Playing Games, Part 2 I love life’s little coincidences. Yesterday I wrote about some types of networking games. In particular I mentioned “speed networking” — a practice where you sit across from someone and in three or four minutes you each try to decide whether you want to continue your networking relationship. Then yesterday evening at the Chamber Ambassadors ...
  • Playing Games, Part 1 Event organizers try to come up with new ways all the time to help attendees have more fun — or at least be more effective — in their networking efforts. While not all of these are “games” per se, they do deviate from the normal mixer-style that most networking events adopt. Are all of them ...
  • On Being a Member of a Community Lisa, Kaylie, and I went to the Ya’ssoo Greek Festival on Sunday. It was at a local Church, but folks were coming from all over to celebrate being “Greek for a day”. The music and dancing were a lot of fun and the food (homemade, of course) was fantastic! What struck me most about the ...
  • Twice Burned A couple of months ago, my wife, Lisa, and I bought a new elliptical trainer for our home workout area. We’d been saving for it for several years because we believe in getting high quality (because we do use the machines — a lot). We were pleasantly surprised when, in addition to the workout equipment ...
  • Conversational Ballet Yesterday I wrote about eating dinner at the country club with my friend Andrea and several members of her network. While the fact that they were politicians and captains of industry didn’t bother me too much (after all, they are still people), one thing did throw me off a little bit… The number of people at the ...
  • Fame and Fortune Yesterday evening, my good friend, Andrea Bernardini, treated me to dinner at the Barton Hills Country Club. At dinner, she introduced me to several of the connections that she had made at the club. Seated at our table was a City Councilmember and his lovely wife and a good friend of theirs who had helped ...
  • The Best Testimony, Part 2 Yesterday we talked about writing the most engaging testimonials for other people. The trick, we saw was to make the testimonial an emotion-filled story (after all, people buy on emotion and justify with intellect) which showed the dire straits we were coping with when our hero came on the scene, what they did to help ...
  • The Best Testimony, Part 1 Everyone loves to hear about how great they are. I can guarantee, if you run a business, the testimonials from your devoted fans are as good as gold. Not only do they validate what you do and give you the warm fuzzies, but it also tells anyone who is considering working with you that you ...
  • Is It Coming Back? You’ve heard me preach on the benefits of tracking your networking practice. How many calls, one-to-one meetings, events, gratitude notes, etc, did you do today? By measuring, you can’t fool yourself into thinking that you are doing more than you are. Now I’m going to recommend one other measurement Track your results. Some of us already do track ...
  • Input and Output Lisa, Kaylie, and I spent a good amount of time this afternoon out planting the vegetable garden. Turning the soil, edging, marking off the beds, planting the seedlings and the seeds, and watering it all down. It was a lot of work and we still have more to do tomorrow. In the end, though, it ...
  • Do Your Homework In yesterday’s post I admitted that I wasn’t perfect (and it disturbs me to no end that no one tried to contradict me ­čśë ). The nice thing is, others can learn from my blundering. I’m only doing this as a community service. Really. So, today’s lesson is on the importance of doing your homework. If you ...
  • News Flash! I’m Not Perfect When I’m talking to people about good networking habits, I’ll often hear them say, “Yeah, it’s easy for you. You’re a natural networker. You’re a real extrovert.” Bzzzt! Thank you for playing. Please try again sometime. Johnny, do we have any lovely parting gifts for our contestant? I am a computer programmer by training. Almost by definition ...
  • Share Freely By the time you read this, I will be back from my first recording session with Lucy Ann Lance and her business partner, Dean Erskine. I’m doing a series of very short radio spots (think two minutes) which will appear on her show over the next month. I don’t have the details yet on the ...
  • The Confidence of Giving In a cologne commercial, the actor Jack Palance uttered the classic line “Confidence is sexy, don’tcha think?” While I don’t know how accurate that is, the fact remains that folks do prefer to associate themselves with confident people. Those who act as if they aren’t so sure of themselves give off an aura of desperation ...
  • The Little Benefits of Vulnerability Creating good connections requires a certain level of selective vulnerability. Basically you have to let the other person see into some portion of your life so they can get to know you as a person rather than a position. Sometimes just revealing a little about something personal such as your likes and dislikes can reap ...
  • The Graceful Exit One of the challenges of networking at an event is that you will be tempted to spend your time speaking with people you already know. Now, this isn’t entirely bad. After all, you should, whenever possible, touch base with your existing connections. The downside is that if you don’t meet any new people, you won’t be ...
  • No, Really, Stop Talking OK, I will admit it. I’m a conversational “cuttinski”. When I hear a conversation in the area about which I think I know something, I tend to jump in without being invited. Yes, it is an odious and boorish habit. I’m a “sentence-finisher”, too. I’ve also been known, once or twice, to let my eyes ...
  • Take Them in Another Direction I think that networking events get a bad rap partially because everyone thinks of the same thing — a meal and a talk surrounded by general networking. Despite the fact they can be helpful, they often feel like the “same old, same old”. Wouldn’t it be a lot better if we had a little variation? Well, ...
  • Be Interesting Now, I know I’ve said all along that in order to be interesting, you should be interested. Asking questions about others is far more important than telling them about us. That being said, though, through the natural course of conversation, the other person is likely to ask you about yourself. If that happens you had ...
  • Where ART Thou? Show me your Facebook account and tell me that you have a thousand “friends” and I may look at you askance. While everyones favorite social media site has done its share to bring folks together, it does have one sin that I lay directly at its collective feet. It has butchered the meaning of the word ...