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.

  • Plan with Calendar in Hand The gatherings and events put on by the different organizations you belong to are the bread and butter of the networking process. Going to the Chamber lunch or the local Business Leader after hours is a great way to make the initial contacts that will eventually lead to a stronger network. So, how many did ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Long-Legged Level Jumper This is the second in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series.Name: The Long-Legged Level Jumper Environment: Anywhere there is someone to impose on. Behavior: The primary behavior of the Level Jumper is the request for activities which correspond to a relationship level higher than they have currently achieved.  This can include sales, but is not limited to such. ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Googly-Eyed Star Spotter What follows is the first in a series of posts about the limiting networking behavior that I witness at the various events I attend.  With these it is my goal not to ridicule those who exhibit these behaviors, but rather to point out areas where we all have to be careful and also to suggest ...
  • Sitting and Waiting You see them whenever you attend a networking event. They lurk at the back of the room.  They’re the first ones to the buffet line. They pick a table which has no one sitting at it. They eat their food, listen to the speaker, then are the first ones out the door. You might wonder to ...
  • Beware the Gaps   I just sent out my bi-weekly e-newsletter.  This is the first one I’ve sent out in about five months.  Things kind of lapsed about the end of September last year.  Between travel with my family and my business getting completely out of control, I just let an issue or two slip.  OK, maybe it was ...
  • Finding Mary Poppins Miss Beth and Kaylie As we all know by now, networking is one of the best ways to develop our business relationships.  Clients obtained by word of mouth are quite often the best ones we’ve ever had.  They require far less work to sell to and sometimes even show up at our door, signed contract ...
  • Small Talk That’s Not So Talky OK, let’s admit it. To many of us, making “small talk” with strangers is a painful and awkward task that rates somewhere around getting our teeth cleaned at the dentist on the “Things We Like To Do” scale.  Unfortunately, it is also a necessary skill when it comes to networking — especially at an event.  The alternatives ...
  • What INFER Implies Yesterday we talked about INFER, an acronym to help you learn more about another person in the context of a one-to-one meeting.  The thing is, gaining information is fine, but it’s what you do with it that makes all the difference.  Now that you’ve gleaned all of this data, what does it imply? Well, first (and ...
  • One-to-One’s: What You Can INFERGetting together for a “one-to-one” with another person is a good way to start the “Relationship” step of the ART of Networking process.  Whether it’s a coffee, breakfast, or lunch, it’s just a good time to sit down and learn more about each other.  As an aside, I do not recommend trying to do a one-to-one ...
  • Hungry for Networking Maybe you’ve never said this to yourself before, but I think I do it every time I step on the scale to weigh myself. “I’ve got to go on a diet.” The funny thing is, from everything I’ve read and experienced, a “diet” just doesn’t work.  The mindset of depriving ourselves of food in order to lose ...
  • That’s a Good Question One of the best things a good networker can do is to come up with an arsenal of useful questions.  These should be the ones which help you learn more about the other person and perhaps discover ways in which you can help each other. One of my favorites, and one which gets an inevitably interesting ...
  • The Paradox of Networking Why do we network? Fundamentally, at the bottom of it all, at the very secret place deep within our hearts, we know that we are doing it for our own personal gain. We want to extend our network to improve our chances of landing the job, or landing the client, or getting a good deal, or giving ...
  • What Are Your Challenges? How Can I Help? One of the strange side effects of networking in the business world is that many of the folks you talk with are going to assume that you are trying to sell to them.  Even the simple phrase “Let me know if I can help out with anything” takes on a meaning that you might not ...
  • The Daily Practice Matt Heinz over at “Matt on Marketing” has an awesome list of networking activities that you can do every day. Now while all of his techniques are really great, the thing I like most about this post is the idea of a daily practice.  Great networking, as with most things, comes from consistency, not intensity.  Let’s ...
  • How Long is Too Long Away? We’ve all done it.  We start a networking relationship with someone.  We might even have met for coffee or lunch.  We exchanged an email or a phone call or two and then… … nothing One or the other (or both) of us forgets to maintain the contact and the next thing you know, two years have gone ...
  • You Ought to be in Pictures, Redux About a week ago I wrote a post about using your camera for networking.  I got a little bit of feedback from some trusted advisors and the general consensus was, well, that it was “creepy”. So, I’ve thought a bit about what they said, and they do have a point.  Walking up to a stranger at ...
  • Follow Through on Follow-Up One of the fundamental rules of attending a networking event comes into play after the event is over.  If you miss out on it, then you might as well have stayed home and not wasted your time or money. The rule, of course, is that you must follow up. Even the best networkers have a few business ...
  • Target Market: Be Specific A few days ago, I mentioned “leftover lovin'” networking, the basis of which is a lack of specificity in what you are seeking. Let me be clear. You will never be a truly effective networker until you can clearly state who you serve in the clearest, most detailed manner. A good understanding of your target market underlies everything ...
  • Old Photographs I’ve been going through my collection of digital photos lately (about 8 years worth or so).  I’ve been running some facial recognition software on them and taking time to look over the results. It’s amazing to me how many people I’ve lost touch with. Guess what, though?  I now have the perfect reason to contact them again. “Hi, ...
  • Schedule It! Let me know if this sounds at all familiar:  You go to a networking event.  You have a great time.  You meet a number of interesting and potentially beneficial people.  You promise to call or email in order to set up a meeting with them. And you never see them again. And the reason for that is ...