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 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 ...
  • 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. ...