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.

  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...