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.

  • 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 ...
  • Be Our Guest! Yesterday, I mentioned that one of the things you can do to help develop a networking relationship is to invite the other person to a networking event you think they might enjoy (and pay for them, since they are your guest). The challenge with inviting a guest (or attending an event with someone you know, for ...
  • Then a Miracle Occurs A long time ago, I got a t-shirt with a famous Sidney Harris cartoon on it in which two scholars are looking at a blackboard on which one of them has written a fairly complicated series of equations.  In the middle of it are the words “then a miracle occurs”.  His companion says “I think ...
  • Simple Tips: Eating While Networking Networking events often have food associated with them.  Whether it’s breakfast, lunch, dinner, hors d’oeuvres, etc, there are a few simple rules you can follow to make sure the comestibles don’t interfere with your networking efforts. Whenever possible, don’t eat until you’ve accomplished your networking goals.  If your goal is to meet three new people during ...
  • Sidestepping the ART of Networking Yesterday in my post on the time commitments of networking, I mentioned that there is a way to shortcut the time necessary to progress through the Awareness/Relationship/Trust process. Now before I go on, I want to re-iterate that you still must achieve a given level in order to gain the benefits of that level.  If you ...
  • Networking: How Long Does It Take? One of the most dangerous statements I’ve heard about networking happened right near the beginning of our current economic trevails.  I was at a Chamber lunch and overheard one gentleman speaking to another, “Yeah, things are getting tough in my business, I guess I’m going to have to start networking.” What’s wrong with this phrase? The gentleman ...
  • Networking: How Much? If you had an unlimited amount of time, you could attend every networking event in your town or city, spend your mornings and afternoons meeting people for coffee, and eat lunch with a different one of your contacts every day. Unless you know a secret to which none of the rest of us are privy, though, ...
  • How to “Show Up” In my previous post I tried to convey how important it is to show up for networking, whether over the phone, in person, or via the ‘Net. And by “show up” I mean participate. The challenge is that many technical people have no clue how to do this.  We aren’t natural “people” people.  If left to ...