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.

  • Executive Networking Profile: Jim Boehler “It’s about expanding your comfort zone.” says Lakes Community Credit Union Marketing Director, Jim Boehler. “You just have to stop being afraid.” Jim admits that this was a real challenge for him when he first started networking. Chatting with complete strangers was definitely outside his comfort zone. As a marketing director, though, he had to talk ...
  • Executive Networking Profile: Tina Dix “It doesn’t matter what their title is, they are all still people.” Tina Dix, CEO of OUR Credit Union in Royal Oak, Michigan took some time out of her busy schedule to chat with me about how she uses networking to support her efforts to grow and maintain her organization. According to her, one of the ...
  • 5 Ways to Appreciate Your Referral Partners “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” ~ John F. Kennedy Thanksgiving is drawing near here in the United States and with it come thoughts of gratitude for that which we have received in the previous year. Of course, as skilled networkers, ...
  • This is the One Reason Professional Groups aren’t Growing “If people choose to engage on a one-dimensional level that’s fine. But going beyond the surface can enrich ourselves as human beings.” ~ Geri Halliwell “We get lots of visitors and guests, but our membership has been at the same level for the last several years. We’re not sure what to do about it.” My friend was ...
  • Why Should I Network? The Benefits of Accountability “True love does not only encompass the things that make you feel good, it also holds you to a standard of accountability.” ~Monica Johnson In the last year or so, my business has really started to grow. I mean, it was doing OK, just limping along in the first four years, but last year? Wow! It has ...
  • 5 Ways to Show Respect for Your Professional Connections “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.” ~ Joyce Meyer At the beginning of the school year, my girls were so excited to go, they would show up in my room every morning before my alarm went off to make sure I got up. They would chatter ...
  • What If Everyone Networked Like That? Today, as a part of a preschool field trip to the apple orchard, Abby and I found ourselves navigating a maze built of hay bales. Abby was really getting into it, scampering down the passages and laughing at each dead end — right up until the moment she and one of her classmates rounded a ...
  • Networking Routines, Networking Ruts “What’s your routine after attending a networking event or meal? If your answer is, ‘I go home,’ you’re probably going to miss out on opportunities.” ~ Lewis Howes My buddy Tim and I head down to Dragon Con each year. It’s a science fiction convention that draws about 70,000 attendees. The convention is fun, but the real ...
  • The Networking Dance “When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” ~ Wayne Dyer Each year, as a family, we get together at a nearby campground for the Memorial Day weekend. The park we’ve been to for the last few years, Groveland Oaks, lines ...
  • Jelly Making and the Networking Practice “Experience is the teacher of all things.” ~ Julius Caesar The crabapple tree is going crazy this year. It started producing fruit early and with gleeful abandon. That means that I’ve been jelly making — a lot. I just finished my 70th pint jar for the season and I still have close to a bushel of fruit in ...
  • Networking Groups, Put Out the Welcome Mat “Great men show politeness in a particular way; a smile suffices to assure you that you are welcome, and keep about their avocations as if you were a member of the family.” ~ John James Audubon Welcome home. That should be the clarion call for every networking group. Visitors, new members, or even those who’ve joined but attend ...
  • Bad Excuses: I don’t have time I’m in Grand Rapids, Michigan this week, working with the folks at the Michigan Recruiting and Retention Network’s annual convention, teaching them about the importance of developing great networks and giving them some tools to use while doing it. These are the recruiters and physician liaisons who work tirelessly to bring in and retain the ...
  • Personal Networking Story: The Little Things Pay Off I’m always a little suspicious of analogies. Don’t get me wrong. They can be great tools to help explain complex concepts. The problem I have is when people try to use them to prove a point. That’s when you have to put on your balderdash detector to make sure someone isn’t trying to sell you ...
  • Curiosity, Curiosity, Curiosity There’s the old joke about the three most important qualities when buying a house — location, location, location. In a similar manner, there are three qualities you must have to be successful as a networker — curiosity, curiosity, curiosity. I’m not talking about being curious about how the other person can help you, but rather a ...
  • The Electronic Squirrel “Squirrel!” ~ Doug the Dog from “Up” Our electronic distractions are all around us. A young mother is in a restaurant with her three children. Her back is to them as she talks on her cell phone. An extended group of family and friends is on the shuttle to airport parking. Each adult has their eyes glued ...
  • Your List of Little Things It was Magic. We recently took our daughters, Kaylie (7) and Abby (4) to Disney World for a short vacation. It was our second evening there and we were sitting on Main Street USA waiting for Mickey’s Electrical Parade to begin. This is the nighttime parade with brightly lighted floats. From our vantage, we could see things ...
  • Riding the Roller Coaster We whooped and hollered through the curves, screamed as we hurtled down the hills, and when we finally arrived back at the loading zone of Goofy’s Barnstormer Ride at the Magic Kingdom, we all had huge grins on our faces. Except for my four-year-old, Abby. Please understand, I did not force her to ride on this ride. ...
  • Tending the Fire “In everyone’s life, at some time, our inner fire goes out. It is then burst into flame by an encounter with another human being. We should all be thankful for those people who rekindle the inner spirit.” ~ Albert Schweitzer In my last post, we talked about the similarities between networking and starting a fire and how, ...
  • Starting the Fire I’m constantly amazed at the number of relatively commonplace activities that mirror or point to important concepts of a good networking practice. Take campfires, for example. A few times over the course of the summer, we’ll have a little campfire in the backyard. The girls love it. We’ll roast hot dogs, drink lemonade, and, of course, ...
  • Waiting at the Airport That is not my flight I glanced at the information board over my gate. My flight time was now thirty minutes later than originally scheduled. Mildly frustrating, but time to sit and think. I can read a book. I can get some other activities done (like writing this post). I can even chat with the ticket agent, the baggage handler, ...