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 When It Doesn’t Matter The thought of actually attending a networking event fills many people with dread. After all, you are basically putting yourself in a place where you will be talking with strangers — in direct contradiction to the instructions your mother gave you from the time you were three. So how can we take some of the ...
  • Is It Just You? I was having lunch with my friend Steve Owsinski of Igadea today. We were talking about networking and he mentioned that a lot of their clients were also friends. In fact, the clients are more likely to say “Let’s talk with Steve about our Web site” rather than “Let’s go to Igadea”. I’ve been thinking ...
  • Personal Networking: Debra Power I had a wonderful coffee-less coffee with my good friend Debra Power today. She’s the President and founder of Power Marketing and Research. She also serves on the Board of Directors and the Executive Committee of the Ann Arbor Chamber of Commerce and is one of the Co-Founders of the Women’s Exchange of Washtenaw. So, she’s ...
  • But I Don’t Own a Business! A lot of networking advice is aimed at small business owners (and salespeople) who use the skills to get more work for their business. There are those — and I know you might find it shocking — who actually do the work in a larger company — who never have to bring in the signed contracts. ...
  • Doing the Math I’ve not been able to track down the origins of the quote, but it goes something like: Every person knows on average 250 people who would show up for their wedding or their funeral. I don’t know how accurate that is, but remembering weddings and funerals I’ve attended in the past, that seems about right. The ...
  • Constructive Avoidance I’ve advised one or two people on good networking habits now and I’m beginning to see some recurring themes. One of the biggest is “constructive avoidance”. It’s easy to recognize because I tend to do it, too. This is the process whereby we avoid what we know we should do by claiming that we first ...
  • Personal Networking: Timothy Wells Householder This is another in my series about networking tips, techniques, and systems that I learn from my conversations with my own network. In this case, I was chatting with my friend, Tim Householder (aka Timothy Wells Householder), over lunch and he told me about some of the networking practices that he follows. Tip: Take advantage of the ...
  • Help Find the Bullseye Every once in a while when I’m chatting with a new networking partner I run into a little problem. I ask them who their target market is and they respond: “Oh, we can help anybody.” As I’ve mentioned in the past, this is not a helpful statement. Specificity is your friend in this case. If they can’t ...
  • Start Up. Don’t Give Up. More thoughts from my lunch the other day with Tim Householder — art photographer extraordinaire. We were talking about the difficulty of getting started in networking. A lot of people start out with the intention of creating a great network. Then they get discouraged when their efforts don’t bear fruit after only a few days, or ...
  • It’s All About You I was having lunch yesterday with my buddy, Tim Householder, my photography mentor, artist, and owner of Timothy Wells Photography. We talked about business and networking quite a bit. One of the challenges he finds with networking is that he often doesn’t see the results of his efforts. He’ll make the effort to put a ...
  • It’s a Wonderful Life Spoiler alert: If you’ve never seen “It’s a Wonderful Life”, just skip this post right now. I’m warning you, I will be giving away the whole storyline of the movie. In the holiday classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life“, George Bailey, the character played by Jimmy Stewart, gets to find out how life would have turned out ...
  • Personal Networking: Kelly Parkinson As I continue to expand my own networking practice, I meet with more and more expert networkers each day. I thought it might be useful to ask them what tools and tips they use in the process of making connections. For the first article in this series, I chatted with Kelly Parkinson of Allegra Printing. Kelly ...
  • Know When to Fold’em As the old Kenny Rogers song goes, “You’ve got to know when to hold’em/ Know when to fold’em”. What holds true for the Gambler also holds true for the Networker. A comment from my good friend Jacki Hollywood Brown on Sunday’s post asks: So what if you’ve attended for ages and you’re getting nothing out of ...
  • Are You Board Yet? Part 2 A couple of days ago, we talked about some of the benefits of creating a Board of Advisors for yourself. While we could come up with a number of advantages to us, the next question was: Why would anyone want to become a part of such a beast? What was in it for them? It’s ...
  • So What? It’s time for the monthly Chamber breakfast meeting. You’ve been attending faithfully for months, but today you just can’t get up the enthusiasm to go. As you trot out your list of excuses to stay home, remember two little words. “So what?” I never get anything out of those meetings. So what? Come up with a better goal ...
  • Are You Board Yet? Part 1 What networking activity could you organize that would:Put you in contact with a select group of business leaders? Create connections between the members of your network? Give you regular access to some of the best business advise you could ask for?If you are stumped by this one, it’s not surprising. Most solitary networkers and small business people ...
  • Showing Selective Vulnerability “People tend to do business with those they know, like, and trust.” How many times have we heard that particular phrase? Of course, it is true, so that’s probably why it gets trotted out so often. Still, ironically, a lot of people have problems with the concept. Their biggest challenge? They don’t want anyone to know them. OK, ...
  • Sales Call Negative Networking, Part 2 Not “Kelly” Yesterday, I started telling the story of a pushy cold-call I received from the University of Michigan’s Football advertising sales people. In particular, I spoke with a young woman whom we are calling “Kelly”. While, cold-calling is certainly not networking, the very best of cold-calling has a lot in common with good networking. ...
  • Sales Call Negative Networking, Part 1 This morning while taking care of my daughter, I got a call on my office line. I know I should have ignored it. After all, the caller ID said “Unknown”. Since I don’t know anyone by that name, it was probably a cold-call. I ignored my gut instinct. I always regret doing that. It was a ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Cacophonous Chatterbox This is the sixth in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Cacophonous Chatterbox Environment: Anywhere they can find someone to talk to. Behavior: The Chatterbox is an unintentionally deceptive specimen. At networking events, he first appears friendly and helpful. He is more than willing to answer any questions you might have — discoursing on long personal anecdotes which ...