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 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 ...
  • Networking with the Stars The other day I had a meeting with Lucy Ann Lance, a local radio personality, and Dean Erskine, her business partner. We were talking about working together on a project (which I will talk more about on a different day). The funny thing was, even though I had been on her radio show twice before ...
  • Personal Networking: Laura Spensley I had a very pleasant meeting this afternoon with Laura Spensley, owner and Marketing Manager of SERVPRO of Canton and Washtenaw County. For those who are unaware, SERVPRO is a company who comes in and helps you clean up and restore your home after you’ve gone through a disaster such as fire or flood. Laura and ...
  • Super-Connectors Almost any networker, good or bad, is a connector. We know a fair number of people and what they do and what they need and, wherever possible we try to bring people together because they might be able to help each other. Then there are the super-connectors. These are the folks who seem to know everyone ...
  • The Hunter and The Gardener Yesterday we talked about one analogy with respect to networking. Today, as I struggled to roto-till my vegetable garden, I remembered another one that I had heard. Networking is to selling what gardening is to hunting. While both networking and selling can result in achieving a variety of goals, let’s focus on just the aspect of increasing ...
  • Analogies I know that analogies can be a flawed mechanism to argue a topic, but they can be wonderfully illustrative if they aren’t taken too far.  I think of them as the “Dummies Guide” to describing complex or technical topics to those without a technical background. I used them all the time in my Web development ...
  • Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner You’ve done coffees. You’ve done lunches. You’ve even hit a breakfast or two. These are all wonderful opportunities to get to know people a little better. Now I’ll suggest another one… Dinner. Of course you can just meet at a restaurant, but I’m thinking about something a little more personal. Invite your networking contact and (where applicable) his ...
  • Expanding Beyond the Home Town Most successful networking is local. Being there in person is almost always necessary for first-time meetings. That being the case, what if you want to expand into the next town over (or maybe one that is a little further away)? That requires some strategic planning. First of all, make sure your existing network is strong. You are ...