Tango Diva : Travel Stories for Women, by Women

June 3rd, 2005
Diva Says: Networking – Tango Diva Style

The New York Times has crowned Teresa the title of “ubernetworker,” and in this exclusive article, she uncovers her secrets to networking success.

The goal of networking is to create community through connections. Remember that it’s not all about you.

1. Be curious – ask questions about things that aren’t work related. Hobbies, sports, pets, and travel are good icebreakers. Listen, don’t talk about yourself.

2. Be friendly – find a connection and engage others; it could be that you both love Duran Duran or enjoy hiking on weekends. Try to memorize names; knowing someone’s name is the biggest compliment you can give them.

3. Be proactive – ask for their business card, don’t just hand yours out arbitrarily and expect others to contact you.

4. Be prepared – take notes, write your discussion highlights or personal information shared on their business card, include information like date of meeting and any outstanding physical features.

5. Be available – cultivate contact and keep in touch, even if it’s a random note or quick phone call to say, “Hello.” Never try to sell anything when you first meet someone.

6. Be relevant – acquire understanding about trends and news, so you always have something to converse about. Develop your skills; become the person people seek for advice and ideas.

7. Be beautiful and positive – people like networking and socializing with attractive, optimistic people. Beauty is both inside and out. Never be negative.

8. Be generous – introduce them to others; get them involved in your network, find connections and value with your contacts.

9. Be patient – ask for the introduction once you have established a relationship. Usually, if you’ve done a good job cultivating your friendships with new individuals, they will invite you into their world.

10. Be thankful – Extend gracious thank you’s for the introductions and contact you receive. Send cards, remember important dates, and be grateful – always.

An easy way to meet new people:

One of the best ways, I’ve found, to meet someone – or to join a new group – is through compliments. I usually approach someone in a group (usually a women) and compliment her on a piece of clothing or her shoes (and I am sincere when I do this!)

My thoughts on networking:

On starting:

When I first started networking, I got involved with as many groups and organizations as possible. I found that some groups will resonate with you, while others won’t spark any interest or energy. Never say, “No” to an opportunity to meet new people.

On people:

I believe that everyone is important; that one person I don’t know might be the link I want or need. No one is a “nobody.” When talking with a new person I engage solely with them. I don’t scan the room looking for a better conversation. There’s nothing ruder than ignoring someone who is talking with you. Eye contact is a must.

On opportunity:

I create networking opportunities. I don’t mope around, hoping to get invited to the next big event – I host it! Find opportunities to connect your contacts. Become the conduit.

On introductions:

I set goals of how many people I want to meet when I go to a new venue. I like challenges, so if I set a goal for myself, I don’t get caught up in the awkwardness of meeting people. I know I have a goal to achieve. You can’t be shy if you want to succeed at networking.

On possibilities:

I see people’s potential. I perceive people as bright stars with rays of light that reach out across the world and when I meet them, they are not just a “plumber or housewife,” they are stars who are intimately connected to this world.

On current contacts:

None of my contacts are pigeonholed into one category; I can create connections where others can’t see them. See your contacts as multi-talented individuals who are brimming with skills, experience, and interests.

On business:

I understand that people only do business with others they trust and connect with. So don’t forget, that no matter how large a company is, it’s still managed by people who have hobbies, dreams, and disappointments.

On Tango Diva:

My goal is to grow a global network of women who can generate positive connections. My philosophy is that this world can be a safer, friendlier place if we reach out and meet others from different places and actively cultivate friendships. I’ve created that opportunity on my web site and with my company. Through global networking we can share knowledge about cultures, discuss social ideologies, and reveal differences that can lead us to understanding. As Stephen Covey says, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” Let me include one of my favorite bible verses, “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.” Hebrews 13:2.

We’re all angels, aren’t we?

Teresa

To read the New York Times article with Teresa, visit our PRESS section.

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