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 Conversations: Networks“Where do you find your success?” Ultimately, this is what you are asking when you ask someone about the networks they are a part of. This is the second in a series on the topics of conversation you can use during a one-to-one meeting (coffee, lunch, etc) in order to deepen and strengthen a relationship. You may ...
  • One-to-One Conversations: InterestsUnless you are both standing near something likethis, the weather is not a personal shared experience.“It sure has been hot lately.” Let’s face it. It’s not the most auspicious way to open a conversation — and it’s also not likely to lead to a one-to-one that really strengthens the relationship. This is the first of a series talking ...
  • Magic MomentsI watched Kaylie’s face as the world spun past and I knew this moment was one of the special ones — never to come again. She and I were down at Disney World together. Lisa and our brand new baby, Abby, were back up in Michigan with my sister-in-law, JoAnn. It was just the two of ...
  • Calling PriorityConsistency is more important than intensity. Would you skip brushing your teeth all week only to brush them fourteen times on Sunday? I’m hoping your answer is “no”. That’s not the way to good dental health. The concept holds true for networking, too. We need to adapt those behaviors into our daily lives. We especially need to set ...
  • CoastingEverything falls apart. A few years ago, I watched a fascinating show called “Life After People“. The underlying concept asked what if, for whatever reason, suddenly every human on the planet vanished? What would happen to all our artifacts as time marched on without us to maintain them? The upshot was, given enough time, everything would eventually ...
  • The Levels of ParticipationWhere are you in the Participation Pyramid?“I’ve decided to leave the Chamber”, she told me. “I’m just not getting any business out of it.” I was chatting with a business owner to whom I had delivered the welcome bag when she first joined the Chamber of Commerce. I knew that for some people, the Chamber just ...
  • Networking Lessons from a Bad Break: Lesson #3 Continuing with my lessons learned from my “failed” triple board break, watching my efforts in the video, I can see that my kick wasn’t aimed well. In the first attempt, it was way too high. In fact, I think I might have clipped one of the holders’ fingers. Ouch. Sorry about that. Lesson: For success, aim is ...
  • Networking Lessons from a Bad Break: Lesson #2 In the last post, I told you about a “failed” board-breaking attempt that I made as a part of the many tests I am going through for my next belt. As with many of the so-called “failures” in our lives, it’s only truly a failure if we don’t learn from it. In this case, I ...
  • Networking Lessons from a Bad Break: Lesson #1 With a mighty “Hiyaa!”, I drove my foot toward the waiting planks of wood… … and bounced off. As one of the tests for my next belt at Keith Hafner’s Karate, back in the Spring, I did a board-breaking — actually a triple board break (three at once). If you check out the video, it wasn’t a rousing ...
  • Sometimes You Get What You NeedSometimes we need to hear it.If the emergency sirens start sounding that severe weather is near, perhaps it’s time to set aside your plans for the family picnic. Heck, if the weather forecaster is telling you that there’s better than a fifty percent chance of thunderstorms, you might be better off trading in the picnic blanket ...
  • The Personal MessageIn a post from a while ago, I talked about some bad behaviors regarding communicating with your customers through a form letter. My friend Victoria Kamm, President of Obviously Brilliant, commented on the post and wondered about how one would actually go about creating a personalized snail mail piece. It’s an excellent question and I ...
  • They May Still Hate You“This is rubbish.” That was how a comment from a reader began to a recent article I posted on AnnArbor.com. She then went on to cast aspersions on my business style, location, credentials, and, yes, even my wardrobe. This is the payment you will sometimes have to make when you try to give back. AnnArbor.com does not pay ...
  • Good E-IntroductionsYou wouldn’t ask a recent acquaintance to help you move. No matter how nice it would be to have them help, the time and effort involved exceed the levels of that relationship. The same is true for asking them for a personal, face-to-face introduction to someone in their network. It’s a lot of work and ...
  • Being a Good Networker NeighborIf he lived next to us, my wife would already have cleared the cars for him.Networkers have to have a split personality. They have to be strategic about putting themselves at events where they will meet the people who will be able to help them succeed in their goals. Then they have to forget being strategic and ...
  • Referrals and birthday cakesLet’s suppose you like cake. Oh, not just any cake. What you want is that deep chocolate cake with the chocolate chips baked into the batter. You don’t want the buttercream frosting (except for the decorative roses on top). What you want is a chocolate ganache. Between the layers? You want a raspberry filling. Got the picture? One ...
  • Networking Impatience Leads to FrustrationShe can get away with being impatient. You can’t.“Daddy, I’m ready to go swimming!” I opened one eye to see the smiling face of my daughter, Kaylie, already decked out in her swimsuit. Then I tracked over to the clock next to the bed. 7am?? Have you ever tried to explain to a four-year-old why, on vacation, 7am is most ...
  • Check the Character of the EventDo you fit in with the character of this group?“Well, this certainly isn’t the crowd we’re used to.” My wife and I were watching the crowd of rambunctious teenagers roughhousing in the hotel pool. We’re on our family vacation this week up in Traverse City. Ordinarily we’re here in October for the Fall colors, but we thought we ...
  • Open the ToolboxIf you had a hammer in your toolbox, why in the world would you use a rock to pound in a nail? You wouldn’t. So, why do people treat their network like a locked toolbox? Networking is the process of creating a resource for future success in both your personal and professional life. I believe this ...
  • Five-Minute Rule, Part 2In the last post we talked about the little things businesses can do — things that take less than five minutes (sometimes even less than a minute) — which solidify their relationship with the customer. Essentially, they take that short amount of time to make the customer feel like a person not a potential sale. If ...
  • Five-Minute Rule, Part 1I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while now, but an article I read today regarding Best Buy’s uncertain future (at least in that author’s view) has me feeling motivated. I’ve written several times now about how good customer service is a strong component of networking when you run a business. After all, your ...