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Posted on Sun, Jul 7, 2013 : 6 a.m.

What we can give to our networking partners

By Greg Peters


Some days you need some help in the cheering section

Photo by Julie Elliott-Abshire

Sometimes it's not about the referrals.

The next time you are wondering how you can help out one of your networking sources, of course, first ask them what they need. Then give them one thing more.


Or acknowledgment, or recognition, or hope. Let them know that you believe in them and their dream. 'Cause we all know just how hard it is to hold on to a dream, whether it's a happy, healthy family, a prosperous career, or a cabin in the woods. We all run into moments of darkness when we can momentarily lose sight of those inspirations.

One of my most memorable experiences with this phenomenon happened a couple of years ago with my good friend Eleni Kelakos. Eleni is an amazingly accomplished person — actress, singer, speaker, and trainer. She teaches people how to be confident on stage and at the time we met, she was also the president of the Michigan chapter of the National Speakers Association.

She has experienced some truly amazing things in her life. Offer to buy her a cup of coffee sometime. You'll be glad you took the time to get to know her.

After hearing me speak at our chamber's networking breakfast event, she made a point of getting together with me. Over hot beverages at the local Borders coffee shop (I told you it was a while ago), she took the time to encourage me in pursuing speaking as at least a part of my future career. She even gave me some great advice on what my next steps might be.

I will admit, even with the amount of speaking that I've done, I still occasionally walk away wondering if the audience was just being polite. Were they clapping because I had reached them or because they were glad I was leaving the stage? When someone takes time out of their schedule to tell you that you did well (and, more than just that, they tell you what you did well), that can light the path for a long time when you are chasing your dream.

Yes, I know, as entrepreneurs, we all have to be our own best cheerleaders. That's Okay. I just think it's a lot better when you aren't cheering alone.

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