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.

  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...