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.

  • 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 ...
  • 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 ...
  • Leftovers, Part 2 Last night I wrote about “leftover lovin'” networking.  The example I chose happened to deal with a business owner and his attempt to find work.  Believe it or not, the same holds true with just about any endeavor in networking.  Lack of specificity will destroy any benefit you might hope to gain. Let’s look at someone ...
  • Leftovers Except around Thanksgiving, very few people truly enjoy leftovers.  Most things just aren’t as good heated up the next day. So why do you suppose people network as if they love leftovers? OK, let me explain what I mean by that. I was chatting with a friend the other day.  He owns a small construction company, we’ll call ...
  • Trick Question What follows is a story problem.  It will count for 10% of your grade. You find yourself at the Chamber of Commerce networking lunch.  As you walk in, you see a number of people you know and several more who look to be new to this event.  What do you do? A. Go up and chat ...
  • You Ought to be in Pictures These days almost everyone has a camera available to them.  Most of the cell phone cameras have actually exceeded the first digital camera that I had and the newest slim digitals can easily fit into a purse or pocket. So what does that have to do with networking? The next time you are at an event, pull ...
  • Out With the Old? The new year is as good a time as any to do a quick check of your networking activities.  Here are a few things that you should take a look at to make 2010 a better year for making great connections. What is your target market?  What specific group of people are you trying to help?  ...
  • Know Your Network Quickly, off the top of your head answer the following: You just lost your job.  Who do you call to begin your search for a new one? Someone just told you about a job opening at a local company.  Who could benefit? A dear friend is ill.  Which speciallist would you recommend? Your daughter is getting married.  Who do ...
  • Don’t Talk — Ask Those of us with a technical mindset often have problems attending an event where we don’t know people.  We dread the idea of standing there and wondering what to say.  Well, here’s a little hint: Don’t talk — ask. If your goal as a great networker is always to find ways to help the other person, then ...
  • The People in Your Neighborhood It’s funny, but we always seem to think about networking as something we do “out there”.  We attend meetings and luncheons and coffees in order to meet new people.  Ironically we ignore possible connections a little closer to home, like the ones that share our same street. I was chatting with a new friend, John Krzesicki ...