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Photo courtesty of OWIT Lake Geneva

Article by Carolina Rodriguez Barros, www.daretoglow.com

When I first arrived in Switzerland, back in 2008, to found Dare to Glow, I only knew my boyfriend. That was it. I couldn't rely on him to introduce me to new people and expand my opportunities, as he is not from Geneva either and he was working in the Wine Industry where most of his colleagues and clients were men!

So I had to face the challenge myself. I had to go out there, join professional and social networks, and get to know people. For many, meeting new people can be one of the most stressful things they do: Talking to strangers? About what? It is so boring and I have nothing to say!

Thanks to my situation I learned and mastered networking techniques that I now share with my clients . If you are in need of professional transformation, of a professional mentor or new connections for your next business, then you have the secrets of successful networking sessions with grace and a positive impact right at your fingertips:

- Wear your best clothes. At Dare to Glow we work toward finding the Signature Style that is distinctive to each of our clients. Your clothes always represent how you see yourself in the inside. They form part of your message about who you are (or want to be). It is important that your clothes in this situation—where a first impression is all—empower you : that you feel comfortable, at ease and graceful so you feel confident to reach out. Michele, one of our clients, shared in her video testimonial her experiences since she started wearing her Signature Style: 'When I am with people I don't know, they come up to me and start talking to me. This was not the case before!'. You see, just by wearing the right clothes networking can be almost effortless, as your presence becomes magnetic to attract the right people to you.

- Wear colors. When traveling in the USA, I met colour expert Angela Dacey from Live Life Colourfully. She confirmed to me that colours make a person more approachable. So when you are networking, giving or attending a conference, wear colours! Colours speak about an open mind and an open spirit. Everyone is attracted to people who project an inspired and inspiring attitude. If your wardrobe is full of black suits, then add colors near your face with scarfs, accessories and a handbag.

- Watch your posture. At Dare to Glow's Body Awareness Classes, we focus on posture and walking. The number one positive first impression comes from how you carry yourself into and around the room. Practice your walking style in front of a full length mirror or the shop windows: Visualize your spine from the earth to the sky, hold yourself from your hips, relax shoulders and look straight. Practice your eye contact as well!

- Breath deeply to ground yourself. Being present in the moment gives you assurance and the confidence to speak out. When you know that your clothes, your colours and your posture send out positive messages about you, then you can let go your worries and be fully present to connect with the environment, the people and the conversations. Deep breaths before and during the networking sessions help you to stay engaged and grounded.

- Keep an open body and wear your best smile. Likable and approachable people wear an open body and their best smile. In our body language sessions, women practice open body language gestures: elbows outwards leaving space in between the arms and torso, palms up as much as possible, handbags and other accessories on the side of the body (so they do not become a barrier in between you and other people).

- Keep an open mind. Remember the meaning of serendipity: it is when someone finds something that they weren't expecting to find. You never know who you'll meet—and how far a new contact can take you! In fact, this happens to me all the time and it can be incredible fun!

- Walk slowly: a slow walk conveys power and confidence. If you are sure about what you bring to the room, then you want to make yourself visible!

- Have something to say that is not work related. Prepare your stories and anecdotes in advance. You may want to carry a diary with you: stories happen to all of us everyday, we just need to register them. Remember you are not your job, so be conscious about what inspires you in other aspects of your life and be ready to share them!

- Give compliments. This is the ultimate ice-breaker! Think about it: everyone likes to receive a small compliment (one that sounds honest, of course!). Being able to give compliments says that you are really engaged and connecting with people. One of my first contacts in Geneva was with a lady I met at an event. I approached her to compliment her haircut and ask for the hairdresser contact. She happened to be a well known and connected designer (Tiffany Rowe from Crea-tiff) with whom I've since been collaborating— and the hairdresser has transformed many of my clients.

- Have your business cards ready! If your cards are distinctive and 'out of the box', so much the better! Remember, at a networking event, people will walk away only with the first impression you gave and your business card. It is a good idea to have personal business cards that are in a special format, in your favorite color, and why not a personal logo or a (very good) picture of you. If you are seeking a different job or support to a new cause, then get business cards that represent who you want to become, instead of who you are today.

Finally, I want you to notice that networking is not only about you reaching out. It is also about attracting the right people to you. If you are able to understand this and make this mental shift in your approach, then the whole experience becomes much less stressful. Concentrate on the power of the non-verbal language that happens in interpersonal communication and you will discover a whole new dimension that will give you that extra grace and positive impact.

As I always say in my work, you don't have to do your transitions or expand your influence alone. As a new article in the Forbes magazine confirms, it is all about how visible and well connected you are: who you know and who knows you.

Stay fabulous, and live with passion.

(The World's 100 Most Powerful Women: This Year It's All About Reach, Carolina Howard (Forbes online : http://www.forbes.com/sites/carolinehoward/2011/08/24/the-worlds-100-most-powerful-women-this-year-its-all-about-reach/)


Carolina Rodriguez Barros is the founder and director of Dare to Glow S.A. She thinks of herself as a Glowing Master because of her expertise in transforming women's lives, focusing on the development of an authentic, feminine body, identity, and style for sustained personal and professional growth.


Carolina began her career working in marketing and communications in South America and Southeast Asia. She began a long personal journey in 2007, ready to transform herself inside-out and turn her life upside-down. She searched for solutions everywhere: from Shinto Shamanism and Reiki with a Private Master, to Quantum Medicine, Body Awareness  and Personal Image.


She founded Dare to Glow in 2009 and now devotes her time to guiding dynamic women from all walks of life, helping them tap into their inner source of power and express it in the world. To complement her clients needs, Carolina collaborates with a selected team of professionals in different fields. ‘Transformation is a ripple effect, once you start, you want to keep going’, she says.


Check out her new blog on knowitall.ch in our Careers section, under Women's Careers.