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.

  • 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 ...
  • Retro Post: ‘Twas the Night Before NetworkingThought this one might be fun to send out again. Originally from December 24, 2010. ‘Twas the night before networking And all through the town, The networkers were stirring All moving around They set out their toolkits Preparing for lunch When connections they’d make Gath’ring cards by the bunch Business cards and holder A notebook and pen And especially their schedule For you never knew when That person ...
  • They’ve Got It Backward Doing what I do (teach people about good networking habits), I keep an eye on articles written about networking. This time of year I see a lot of articles about networking at holiday parties. I also see a lot of grouchiness about that concept. For some folks, they bridle at the idea of following the advice of ...
  • So ThatWe’ve talked a lot in the past about what networking is and isn’t.We know it isn’t selling, or taking advantage of other people (without them knowing about it). The best definition I’d heard was networking is the process of developing long-term, mutually-beneficial relationships. As definitions go, I’d say that wasn’t bad. Lately, though, I’ve been ...
  • The Lie of the Rugged IndividualistLone WolfThe Rugged Individualist, the Solo Artist, the Lone Wolf — they bring to mind images of romance and admiration. Self-made and not depending on anyone — sprung fully formed and armored from the brow of Zeus, as it were — they are the success stories we follow and cheer. The news media and Hollywood love that ...
  • Stop Selling at MeRepeat after me: Networking is not selling. If I ever do decide to create a networking event, I may have that posted over the entrance and make every person who walks in repeat it before walking through the door. I’m out in Anaheim at the National Speakers Association annual conference. This is my first time here and it has ...
  • What If I Really Want to Meet Them?I’m guessing that they don’t want to be interruptedA question came up during one of my recent presentations about how to break into a conversation. Of course, we’ve covered some of the techniques here in the past. The main point was that we have to be observant of the body language of the participants. If their ...
  • You Lost Me at “Hello”Feeling a little faceless?I’ve written before about the fact that your clients are a great place to start your networking. Making friends out of them can go a long way toward building a successful web of connections for your business. That being said, Customer Service (or whatever name you might use for the process of ...
  • Email FailEmail can be a valuable tool in your networking practice. It’s a great way to maintain a light touch with members of your network. It’s asynchronous nature means that they’ll receive your communication whether you sent it at 2pm or 2am. While not a personal as a phone call, a well-crafted email message can still ...
  • Call Reluctance RxBob always looked forward to calling strangersIn my sales training we had a concept called “Call Reluctance”. Basically, it was the tendency for the phone handset suddenly to weigh fifty pounds when it came time to make cold calls. Of course, I never did really do that. One of the nice things about having a ...
  • Networking the Job Fair I mentioned that I spoke yesterday morning at the meeting of the Shifting Gears Cohorts. It was a great, responsive group (what every speaker wants) and I got a lot of great comments and questions from them. My friend, Steve Krogness, asked about how to network at a “Job Fair” and I thought I would ...
  • Another Early Reason I discovered a new reason for showing up early for the networking event today: Finding parking. I spoke this morning at the Shifting Gears Cohort Meeting in Ypsilanti at Spark East. I’ve been in Ypsi before and always had a public parking lot where I liked to park near downtown. Imagine my surprise when I discovered ...
  • Handing off the BabyWhen we look at the list of things we have to do — the projects, tasks, and chores of everyday life, both personal and professional — we often get so caught up in the list, that we never think that there might be a better way. Lisa and I brought our daughters Kaylie (3 years) and ...
  • The Limited Networker Field Guide: The Rumple-Feathered Trend Forgetter“Why? What’s wrong with my outfit?”This is the another in the “Limited Networker Field Guide” series. Name: The Rumple-Feathered Trend Forgetter Environment: At almost any networking event, but almost never at a clothing store. Behavior: This oddly plumaged bird shows up at a variety of networking events but has a particular affinity for those which cater to the technical mindset. While ...
  • Breaking InWe’ve spoken before about the challenges of walking away from a conversation and came up with a few techniques on how to do that. Of course, to use these techniques we have to get into a conversation, first. This is one of those areas that makes a lot of people uncomfortable with attending networking events. Walking ...
  • “How Can I Help?”Yesterday we talked a bit about the importance of asking good questions when we are with a networking connection (or a potential one). We also talked about how we should have the answers to any question we ask since they are likely to reflect that question right back at us. Today I want to talk ...
  • Where Have I Heard That Before?I was having lunch with a new friend, Meaghan McCann the other day over at one of my favorite networking spots, Marnee Thai. Meaghan is a Google Adwords expert. She teaches regular workshops about the subject and can really help people get their search engine marketing off to a good start. She’s also a parent ...
  • Small BeginningsEven he was an unskilled white beltat one time.We’re in the middle of “Black Belt Camp” down at Keith Hafner’s Karate. This is a four-month period of intensified training and testing that Black Belt candidates have to go through in order to achieve their next belt. Over the course of this time we give each student ...
  • The Networking Sixth SenseMy buddy Al Bogdan is a photographer and he does an amazing job with portraiture. We love it when he takes pictures of our girls. I mean, Abby and Kaylie are certainly adorable, but Al seems to have a sixth sense about lighting levels and angles and all the little settings on the camera to ...
  • You Always Know SomebodyGlenna Salsbury — Great speaker!At the urging of my good friend, Eleni Kelakos, this morning I attended an event with a new group. This was the bi-monthly meeting of the Michigan chapter of the National Speakers Association. The meeting itself was outstanding. The speaker, Glenna Salsbury, had an amazing amount of information for us on ...