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Posted on Sun, Aug 18, 2013 : 6 a.m.

Picking up the networking hammer

By Greg Peters


Photo by Leszek Soltys

"I've decided not to renew my membership."

I was chatting with an acquaintance — let's call her Mary — from our local chamber of commerce when she dropped this bombshell on me. I'm a huge supporter of the Chamber and all the benefits they provide. A couple of years ago, I would even present a short program to incoming members about the many benefits of networking at the chamber.

I was a bit surprised when Mary admitted this to me, but we all know that not every group is appropriate for every networker. The chamber is no exception. Still I was curious. "So, Mary, why have you decided to leave?"

"Well, I've been in the chamber for a year, and I haven't gotten anything out of it. No new business. Nothing."

Hmm, interesting, since I knew her target market (local restaurants) was fairly well represented at the chamber.

"Wow! I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe there were better places to find the folks you were seeking. Which events did you attend?"

"Oh, I didn't have time to do any of that!"

"O-o-o-kay." What I really wanted to say was more like "How did you figure that was going to work?"

You see, Mary was assuming that all she had to do was join a group and somehow, miraculously, business would start flowing her way. If you think about it, treating group membership this way would be like going to Home Depot, buying a hammer, and expecting it to build a house for you.

Just like the hammer, membership in the group is only a tool. Without us being the driving force, it can do absolutely nothing to improve our businesses or our lives.

So, what can we do to "pick up the hammer"? We'll talk about that next time.

Greg Peters, founder of The Reluctant Networker LLC, writes, speaks and coaches about good networking practice. For more tips that can help your connections count, go to



Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 12:26 a.m.

Great article (as usual!). I seem to have trouble bridging the gap between 'tool' and 'productive output' and so look forward to future posts.

Greg Peters

Mon, Aug 19, 2013 : 5:58 a.m.

Hi, oyxclean I'm assuming you mean that you've developed your network as a resource, but the challenge is in actually getting it to accomplish something for you. I do a whole workshop on this, but to save you the registration fee, here are the steps: 1. Specification: Know what you want 2. Identification: Know who can provide it. 3. Adaptation: Change your request if the person you are talking to can't or won't help you with the result from step 1. 4. Implementation: Make the request. 5. Reward and recognition: Your gratitude leads to further results. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions about this. I'd be glad to help.


Sun, Aug 18, 2013 : 2:07 p.m.

If that is your hammer in the picture I agree the house is not going to be built. That thing couldn't hang a picture hook.

Greg Peters

Sun, Aug 18, 2013 : 5:15 p.m.

Hi, DJ! Thanks for reading and commenting on the article. I'll admit in my old life as a computer programmer and in my current one as a professional speaker, I didn't have too many chances to use a hammer to build a house, so chances are, you know far better than I. Still, I thought that a standard claw hammer (which is what I thought this was) was a common tool. What are they using these days? Thanks again! Greg