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.

  • Patience is More Than a Virtue The wait isn’t fun, but try to skip it and you’ll miss the ride. Those who have friended me on Facebook know that the ideas of patience and waiting are very much on my mind right now. In particular, I’ve been thinking about how difficult it is to be patient when you’ve done everything you can do to ...
  • Lack of Preparation Means Opportunities Lost I think we’ve covered my lack of perfection in sufficient depth that we all know that I can occasionally be used as an example of what not to do when it comes to networking. Monday morning would be a case in point. But what can you expect from a Monday? My good friend and sales coach, Joe Marr ...
  • Hearts and Happy Valentines I’ve written many times in the past about how networking is not just for success in our professional lives. In fact, with Valentine’s Day just past, it’s a good time to reflect on how that same web of relationships which helps us bring in profitable referrals can also smooth over rough spots in our personal ...
  • Professional Networking You need more than a suit to make you a professional. I’ve been re-reading Steven Pressfield’s “War of Art” lately. I liked the section where he differentiates between the Professional and the Amateur. He listed a number of qualities specific to the Professional, but one of the ones that stuck out for me was, in fact, the ...
  • Target Market, Get the “We” Out I’ve worked with a lot of people to help them refine their target market. The target market is one of those concepts that people tend largely to ignore. Bad idea, since they are the basis for focused, powerful networking. We’ve talked in the past about being more specific when we tell people about our target market. ...
  • Haven’t I Seen You Everywhere Before? One more reason to focus I’ve always taught that you need to focus your networking efforts in order to limit the number of venues that you attend. We all only have so much time in our lives. We can’t spend it running from event to event trying to drum up more business. Or even just form more ...
  • The “Proper” Networker OK, now, which fork do I use? I made it out to Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing (LA2M) again this week. I had been missing it for many months and it wasn’t until I happened to drop in recently that I remembered how great the presentations can be. Now, I felt particularly compelled to attend this week’s ...
  • One-to-Ones: Where? Part 3 OK, for the past couple of days we’ve talked about some good locations for one-to-ones. We’ve ranged from the obvious (the coffee shop) to the less so (the grocery store?). Now let’s look at some other options that might not be the best choice. Golfing. Now, I know a lot of people network on the golf course. ...
  • One-to-Ones: Where? Part 2 Continuing our series on good places to meet for one-to-ones, here are a few which you might not have considered. Bookstore. Many bookstores now have cafes or coffee shops where you can meet and chat. The nice thing is that many folks don’t think of bookstores when they are searching for their caffeine fix. This means that ...
  • One-to-Ones: Where? Part 1 The old stand-by If there is one activity that is really the center of good networking practice, that would be the one-to-one meeting. This is just an opportunity for two people to get together for thirty minutes to an hour in order to learn more about each other and how they can help each other. Obviously, ...
  • Are You Happy? Just a quick note today. I was walking past my wife watching “Oprah” the other day and they were doing a show on happiness. At the point where I walked in the room, they had just asked the audience to choose from four different professions, which was the happiest: Clergy, firefighter, special education teacher, or travel ...
  • What an Invitation! It doesn’t have to be an engraved invitation, just a clear and personal one. My good friend, Jacki Hollywood Brown, expert organizer and founder of J-organize, told me about an experience she had recently. The director of a women’s networking group in her area contacted her, inviting her to a “guest day” for the group. OK, that’s not ...
  • When to Use the Golden Rule in Networking No, not that Golden Rule. “Do unto others, etc, etc” is a great rule to apply to networking — in general. Believe it or not, it doesn’t work in all situations. Here’s what I’ve noticed. When it comes to networking technique or how we treat others, the Golden Rule actually works out pretty well. I think a lot of ...
  • Good Neighbors, Good Networking One of the qualities the best networkers share is a willingness to give without expectation of return. They pass referrals, do favors, make recommendations, even pay for lunch, and never once do they stop to keep score. Somehow they know that the “score” will take care of itself in the long run, so there’s no ...
  • Networking Like a Snow Day Snow-maggedon, snow-pocalypse, snow-zilla, snOMG, snowprahWinfrey. Whatever you want to call it, we had a mild blizzard up here in the Ann Arbor area. Nothing serious, just seven or eight inches of blowing and drifting snow. We’ve definitely seen a lot worse in the past. The good thing about the storm was that it was so well ...
  • Beyond the Tipping Point Sometimes the tipping point can be trouble Yesterday we talked about the word-of-mouth tipping point. This is the moment where our networking starts rolling almost under its own power and the benefits start rolling in almost without us having to try at all. Believe it or not, this can actually be a mildly perilous time for some ...
  • The Word-of-Mouth Tipping Point After you get past that first hill things get exciting. Networking is slow. There I said it. It’s the dirty little secret of the word-of-mouth world. If we are looking for a quick fix in the level of business we receive, this is not the path for us. Networking is work. We must make the initial connections, develop the ...
  • The Failure of Prioritizing Behavior Do you spend your time on networking or work-working? One of the challenges of networking in a business context is trying to prioritize where we devote our time. Which is more important, the networking or the work? To solve this quandary, many folks try to prioritize their behavior. Now, I think that prioritizing is a great practice ...
  • The Networking Focus I’ve been training in the martial arts for about thirteen years now. In that time I’ve learned a thing or two. Sometimes that lesson happened at the same time as someone’s foot connecting to the side of my head. If you can avoid lessons like that, I highly recommend it. One of the hardest things for new ...
  • Event Review: Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing A lunchtime one-to-one had to cancel suddenly this week. That left an opening between two meetings with nothing to do. Fortunately, it was Wednesday and I was in downtown Ann Arbor. That meant Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing (LA2M) was about to start. Here’s a quick review. Name: Lunch Ann Arbor Marketing (LA2M) Organization: LA2M Location: Conor O’Neill’s Celtic Room, 318 ...