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.

  • TMI OK, so maybe you should hide just a little bit. Quite a while ago I wrote about the need to show “selective vulnerability” with your networking contacts. We need to be prepared to open up a little bit to those around us so that they can connect to us as a human being. It’s that personal ...
  • Networking Mental Trash: Worthlessness You are not an empty coffee cup. What are you thinking? No, seriously, when you go to a networking event or show up for a one-to-one over coffee, what are you thinking? It’s largely your mental state which will determine the relative amount of success you experience. So, are you thinking about how you can be of service? ...
  • At the Bottom of it All Sometimes we help them stand,Sometimes they help us stand. It’s not the techniques. Techniques make you comfortable, efficient, and effective, but won’t guarantee networking success. It’s not the events. Events make it possible for you to meet new people, but meeting new people isn’t enough. It’s not the one-to-one’s. One-to-one’s give you the opportunity to deepen the relationship, but the relationships ...
  • Focus to the Front I think I’ll just check my messages. OK, let’s be honest. You’ve heard the siren song call of your smart phone on more than one occasion. How wonderful to be able to check your email inbox, voice mail, or maybe even read a few posts on the social media site of your choice. When you’ve got ...
  • Process not Product Didn’t I just clean this yesterday? Just cleaning the desk isn’t enough. I have a number of friends who are professional organizers. They help people who have challenges dealing with the clutter of modern life. The mistake that most of their new clients make is just wanting help to get things organized. That’s part of what happens, ...
  • A Time to Connect and a Time to Sell What happens when you “door-to-door” sell at an event Networking is not the only way to bring customers to your business. You’ve got telemarketing, door-to-door sales, direct mail, and print advertising. Heck, you can even tie a banner behind an airplane and tow it around during the next college football home game. Because networking can take a ...
  • Activity is not Productivity Are your networking activities leading youdown a path to where you want to go? How much time did you spend “networking” last week? How much of that was activity and how much was productivity? Most people, when they are doing their networking, tend to work on things which aren’t as productive as they could be. I’m not just ...
  • Facebook Birthdays When you wake up to this, you know it’s going to be agood birthday! “Just think of it as being half way to ninety!” This is what my dear friend, Angela Kujava, told me to cheer me up on the occasion of my forty-fifth birthday a couple of weeks ago. It still gives me a chuckle. In addition ...
  • One-to-One Conversations: An Epilogue If this is what your one-to-ones are like,you’re doing it wrong. It’s not a government form. The purpose of these categories of information we’ve discussed over the last five posts is not to create a series of boxes for you to fill out about your networking partners. It certainly isn’t for you to create an actual form ...
  • One-to-One Conversations: Relationships “So, how’re the wife and kids?” OK, so if we want to bring that into the modern era, that should be “spouse” or “significant other”, but still this old chestnut is the basis for one of the most powerful topics you can discuss in a networking one-to-one — the other person’s relationships. This is the final part ...
  • One-to-One Conversations: Evolution So, how do we get there from here? “So, what do you do?” It’s the clichĂ©d question that almost everyone asks at a networking event. Is it boring? Maybe. But boring works and it just might lead to a much deeper appreciation of the other person. This is the fourth in my series on conversational topics for the one-to-one, ...
  • One-to-One Conversations: Future Focus Help them turn the rainbow into a bridge to theirpot of gold. OK, be honest. You’ve got a dream, right? Maybe it’s a new house or a new car. Maybe travel in far-off lands. Perhaps you’d like to meet your soul-mate. Wouldn’t it be nice to find a genie who could make those wishes come true? Wouldn’t ...
  • 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: Interests Unless 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 Moments I 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 Priority Consistency 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 ...
  • Coasting Everything 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 Participation Where 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 ...