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.

  • 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 ...
  • Setting Goals We’ve talked about setting networking goals for attending events. You know, the ones where you decide beforehand that you are going to meet to new people and get their business cards or connect two other people with each other. There are a few other networking goals you might want to consider. Daily/weekly behavior. Especially if you ...
  • Just Finished: Nonstop Networking “Nonstop Networking” by Andrea Nierenberg is one of the rare books that I started reading some time ago and never got around to finishing. For whatever reason, something interrupted me and I never managed to pick it up again — until recently, that is. Nierenberg covers a lot of the networking basics that I write about ...
  • Flying Solo Yesterday, Kaylie and I flew solo for the first time. Well, what I mean is that ordinarily, when Kaylie gets on an airplane, either it’s just Mommy or it’s both Mommy and Daddy with her. This was the first time it was just Daddy. Rest assured, it wasn’t an unmitigated disaster by any means. Taking after ...
  • Clients or Ambassadors? The next time you go to a networking event, keep the following in mind: As you survey all of the other attendees, would you rather have them as clients or as ambassadors? If you want clients, get busy cornering each one, probing for needs, overcoming objections, and wrestling them to the ground in order to make ...
  • Working without a Net There are a lot of people walking around out there who think they have wide-reaching and deep networks. Their position in their company places them in regular contact with a wide variety of people who know them and are always happy to say hello. What they don’t realize is that their network is full of holes ...
  • Forwarding Articles: The Good and the Bad One of the best things you can do to help keep your network connections strong is to forward email messages. blog posts, and other articles to those you’ve met with in the past. It can also be one of the worst things you can do, depending on how you do it. Let’s take a look ...
  • Cold-calling Failure My wife, Lisa, used to work for a small start-up company. Having few other employees, the powers that be of that firm assigned her tasks which ranged over a wide spectrum, from helping with the financials to running the lab. They even had her making (shudder) cold calls — fortunately, not for very long. I still ...
  • Networking Though Speech, Part 2 Yesterday we talked about the networking benefits of giving speeches. Getting up in front of a group and sharing your knowledge is an amazingly powerful way to network and can increase your number of connections considerably faster than just meeting people one at a time. If you know what you’re doing. But what if you aren’t the ...
  • Networking Though Speech, Part 1 You’ve attended the Chamber lunches or the Rotary meetings and you’ve sat enraptured by the speaker (OK, so maybe sometimes it wasn’t quite that fascinating). You may have noticed how many people wanted to talk with her afterward and thought “What a great way to network. I wish I could take advantage of that.” Well, you can ...
  • Get Them to Ask After reading some of my posts here, someone might get the mis-impression that I don’t think you should ever talk about yourself in a networking situation. After all, it’s always supposed to be about the other person, right? Well, not quite. What I have been trying to convey is that our focus should be on how we can help ...
  • Pruning the Tickler File A few days ago I recommended setting up a simple tickler file to help keep track of your network. It’s a simple but awesome tool that you can tweak to fit your specific needs.  Once you have one, though, the question arises: When do you remove someone from the list? For me, the two main reason ...
  • Business Cards — What We Think They Think Several years ago there was a Farside cartoon where in both panels, the owner is scolding his dog. In the first was what we say: “Bad dog, Ginger!  You stay out of the garbage! Do you hear me, Ginger?” or something to that effect.  In the second was what they hear “blah blah Ginger blah ...
  • The Gratitude List I was reading a post the other night by Todd Smith in his “Little Things Matter” blog. The post was about showing appreciation — having the “attitude of gratitude”, if you will. He wrote about the importance and benefits of doing it, but also had some good concrete steps to take in order to act ...
  • Focusing on Everything As I mentioned yesterday, I’m a volunteer instructor at a local Karate school. We teach forms (some schools refer to them as kata) to our students to allow them to practice different aspects of the martial arts. At different times we have them focus on tight hands, deep stances, eye contact, proper turning, full range of ...
  • The Push-Up Plan I’m a volunteer instructor at an awesome martial arts school here in Ann Arbor, Keith Hafner’s Karate. I’ll often be put in charge of warming up the class. It’s amusing, the chorus of moans and groans that I hear when I give the dreaded command “push-up position!” One of our senior instructors, Master Jason, puts it ...