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.

  • Giving Generously Sometimes the best way to give is just simply to acknowledge another person’s efforts, or accomplishments, or struggles. The other morning I received a phone call from my dear friend Kristin Mead. She had read one of the posts from this blog and decided to give me a call just to say she liked it. She ...
  • Breaking the Ice OK, I think we agree, networking is a great way to find a job or grow your business or just about anything having to do with other people. Further we know networking is all about relationships. Every relationship, no matter how profound, had it’s start when one person walked up to another and decided to break ...
  • Good Books: Go-Givers Sell More As I wrote a few days ago, I’ve been reading Bob Burg and John David Mann’s new book, “Go-Givers Sell More“. In this volume, they spend quite some time applying the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success to the process of sales. Not ironically, what they end up with sounds like good networking. And, speaking from personal experience, ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Bio-Mechanical Borg Bird This is the fifth in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Bio-Mechanical Borg Bird Environment: In their own little world. Behavior: This oddly marked specimen is a close relative of the Googly-Eyed Star Spotter. The main difference is that while the Star Spotter is always looking for a better person to talk with, the Borg Bird is waiting for ...
  • Networking: What’s the Score?, Part 2 Yesterday we talked about the benefits of using some form of a networking scorecard.  Basically, this tool allows you to track how well you are doing with your networking and what you can do if you want to increase it. So, let’s supposed that I’ve convinced you of the value of such a beast. How would ...
  • Networking: What’s the Score?, Part 1 So, two questions: How good is your networking? and… How do you know? I know when I first started trying to grow my business through networking, I thought I was doing a great job.  I attended events.  I called people. I sent emails. Wasn’t that what I was supposed to do?  The problem was, I had no ...
  • Simple Tools: The Tickler File One of the simplest and most effective tools you can create for networking is a tickler file.  If you don’t have one, you are making a lot of extra work for yourself. What is a tickler file? Simply put, it is a mechanism which will remind you to do a particular activity on a particular day. ...
  • Break the Stranger Pattern My sales coach, Joe Marr, does this fun bit with his introductory seminar.  He has the crowd complete the following sentence: “Never talk to…” and almost without fail, everyone in the class will respond “…strangers“. It’s a pattern that we have absorbed to the point that we don’t even have to think about it. And that’s ...
  • Good Books: The Go-Giver I actually read “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann when it first came out about two years ago. I enjoyed it thoroughly then and when I picked it up again to review before I started on their newest book, “Go-Givers Sell More”, I found myself captured once again. “The Go-Giver” tells the story ...
  • RSVPs Continued Yesterday I wrote about some of the behaviors we must exhibit with respect to the convention of RSVPs.  Once again, I know that you already do what you are supposed to, but you may know someone who might benefit from this information. RSVPs come in a variety of shapes and sizes.  Some require more attention than ...
  • Networking RSVPs I know that you already know about the etiquette of RSVPs, so just pass this along to someone who needs to hear it. So, the story goes that not long ago I gave a small party where I had invited a number of friends.  I made use of the Evite service, so responding to my RSVP ...
  • The Snowflake Principle The other morning I was watching out our front window as another several inches of snow fell softly through the air. As the gentle flakes began to stick to the driveway, I reflected on the nature of networking and how it mirrored the snowfall in its deepest essence. OK, what I was really thinking was, “Aw, ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Introverted Company Clumper This is the fourth in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Introverted Company Clumper Environment: In large groups of similarly plumaged individuals Behavior: When you attend a sit-down networking event, such as a lunch or a breakfast, you may sit down at an almost-full table only to discover that every single person there is from the same office. ...
  • Destroy the Competition I love to meet others in the area who do what I do. Marketing companies who do website design, dedicated Web professionals, programmers — I want to know who they all are. After all you’ve got to know the competition so you can beat them, right? Well, for me, not so much. The main reason I want ...
  • Mix the Medium You’ve scheduled in your regular networking time. You’ve got your log to track what you are doing.  You’ve got your list of people to contact.  Now there’s only one thing left to do. Decide how you’re going to do it. There are so many different mechanisms you can use these days, it can be a bit overwhelming ...
  • Brief and to the Point I’m here to tell you a secret. You’ve probably heard that you should come up with a “30-second commercial” or an “elevator pitch”.  These are supposed to be relatively short responses to the question “So, what do you do for a living?”.  The idea is that when asked, you can give this little presentation and it ...
  • Business Cards — (Don’t) Take Two In the years that I’ve been networking, I’ve noticed a practice that I once used myself. In retrospect it seems kind of strange. I would be at a Chamber lunch or a member reception — the exact event wasn’t particularly important. I had just met someone and had a nice, short conversation with them. They ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Shifty-Handed Deck Dealer This is the third in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Shifty-Handed Deck Dealer Environment: Moving from table to table at any event. Behavior: The Deck Dealer has the mis-impression that the more of her business cards she hands out, the more business she will get.  To that end she moves from table to table, conversation to conversation, interrupting ...
  • Networking Cell Phone Etiquette OK, this is going to be short and to the point. I know you already know this, but just in case: When you are networking with someone in person, whether it is at an event or especially in a one-to-one, the only time you should answer your cell phone is when not answering it could ...
  • Another Excuse When I’m coaching about good networking practice, I quite often hear the lament “But what will I say??” when I recommend making calls or sending emails to people. Really, there’s nothing to this. Any excuse will do. I’ve already told you about one or two of them. Another one just occurred to me today. Imagine you are ...