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.

  • Groups: Why Quit? We’ve talked quite often recently about joining and participating in networking groups. The events that these organizations put on can be a font of new contacts whom you can develop into strong networking partners. So why would you ever quit? Actually, there can be any number of reasons. Even if you’ve done your homework and made sure ...
  • Helping Others and Showing Your Face I was reading Guy Kawasaki’s blog the other day and he pointed out this video by Lewis Howes  on good practices in using social media sites.  It’s about 6 minutes long. Now he’s got a number of great points here, but two in particular stood out to me: #6. Promote others.  This is the nature of all ...
  • Which Groups? Why? Part 2 OK, so after yesterday, you’ve got a potential group or two that you might like to join.  The general format of the group and the make-up of its members will meet some as yet unmet need that you have.  Time to join up, right? Not so fast.  Here are a few other questions that you should ...
  • Which Groups? Why? Part 1 Yesterday we talked about the best way to make any group you belong to pay off — namely, participate.  The question arises, though: If I’m going to spend that much time serving a group, how do I know which group to join and to how many should I belong? How many is a function of your ...
  • Attending vs Participating Becoming part of any social or business organization is a great way to accelerate your networking.  You get to see the same people on a monthly or even weekly basis.  You quite often share a common interest with them.  You might even get a discount or two on goods and services that you use. Now for ...
  • 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 INFER Getting 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 ...