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.

  • Networking Impatience Leads to Frustration She 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 Event Do 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 Toolbox If 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 2 In 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 1 I’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 Networking Thought 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 That We’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 Individualist Lone Wolf The 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 Me Repeat 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 interrupted A 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 Fail Email 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 Rx Bob always looked forward to calling strangers In 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 Baby When 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 In We’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 ...