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.

  • 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 ...
  • Gratitude Notes When was the last time you wrote a “Gratitude Note”? No, not a thank you note. A Gratitude Note. What’s the difference? A thank you note does just that. It expresses thanks: Dear Grandma, Thank you for the sweater you gave me for my birthday. It looks really swell and I can’t wait to wear it out sledding. I’ll ...
  • Happy Birthday! No, it’s not my birthday. Nor is the birthday of this blog or of my company (though it might be your birthday and, if so, “Happy Birthday!”). “Happy Birthday” is the subject of my favorite networking calls. Personally, I think everyone, no matter the age, deserves recognition on their birthday. I know that I often celebrate mine ...
  • Debunking the Myths: Networking is Attending Events When I first meet with a client I always ask what activities they currently pursue for networking and what they are getting out of each one. Almost inevitably, they list attending networking events such as Chamber of Commerce lunches. They often also say they get little or nothing out of them. That makes it doubly ...
  • The Devil on Your Shoulder You step into a professional gathering and he starts whispering in your ear almost immediately. “Only talk with people who can buy from you.” “Why are you bothering with them? They can’t help you.” “Can you see anyone more important here?” His seductive whispers remind you that you have to pay the mortgage next week, that ...
  • Who and What You Know I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know, that counts”. Well, they got it half-right. In reality, both sides of the equation are important. Look at the possibilities. If you don’t know anyone and you don’t know anything, well, you are largely useless, but at least no one knows about ...
  • At the Bottom of the Cycle Our strength and focus in networking runs in cycles. There are times when we are really revving and we’ll attend three events in a day, contact thirty people on our tickler list, and throw in a one-to-one meeting or three on top of it all. And then there are those other times when you just want ...
  • First Impressions are Not Unfair We’ve heard the statistics. Depending on who you believe, you have between two seconds and a minute to make a good first impression.  Or, more to the point, when you meet a new person, they will make a snap judgment about the kind of person you are within that same amount of time — good, ...
  • Why We Do What We Do, Part 4: The Art of the Story So, we’ve about beaten this dead horse into the ground now. We’ve talked about why you should understand your underlying reasons for doing what you do, how to uncover them, and when to use the information you obtain. Now we just need to talk about what form it will take. Before we go on remember that you should give this ...
  • Why We Do What We Do, Part 3: Your Emotional Origin Story In the previous two posts, we talked about why you should know your reasons for what you do and then how to uncover them. Now comes the “what”, as in, what should I do with this now? The underlying emotional reasons are good to use in casual conversation. They reveal that you are a deep thinker ...
  • Why We Do What We Do, Part 2: Digging for Discomfort Yesterday we talked about the importance of knowing why we were doing whatever it is we are doing. Those underlying reasons — almost always emotional and sometimes painful — are our human connection to the path we’ve chosen for ourselves. In sharing these reasons with others, even in part, we allow them to connect with us ...
  • Why We Do What We Do, Part 1: Why Know Why? One of the parts of the INFER process is the idea of finding out the other person’s “Epic Journey”. This is where you get to find out how they got from where they were to where they are now. This is the series of questions you are going to ask which allows them to be ...
  • The Two Faces of Networking Good networkers must almost maintain a dual personality. The first personality is the strategist and the manager. That personality figures out what the ultimate goal of the networking should be — more business, a new job, contributions to a cause, etc. It then determines which groups and events to attend based upon these goals. The determination ...
  • Start the Timer! I’ve been networking now for more than fifteen years with the goal of increasing my business and I’ve had a certain amount of success doing it. The question arises, though about how much time I spend actually doing this networking thing on a daily basis. Let’s take a look at my activities and how much ...