Tourism and Networking…Sort of Relate?

photo from miami-hotel-reservation.info

photo from miami-hotel-reservation.info

Like I said in yesterday’s blog post, I recently vacationed on the Caribbean island of St. John. There are only about 4,000 or so human inhabitants on the island – there must be twice the number of deer to people there – but the population swells daily because of the huge number of tourists that visit. Tourists who clog the sidewalks, drive on the wrong side of the road, and generally leave chaos in their wake. But you know what? Every single native islander that I met during my time there was nice and accommodating when we interacted.

Clearly you just read that first paragraph and you’re thinking, “Lillian, obviously they were nice to you and all of the other tourists – they rely on the money that vacationers bring in.” I get that, I really do. But I am also someone who has lived her whole life in Miami, a major tourist destination, and I have to tell you that I do not necessarily always behave as warmly towards our tourists as the locals on St. John did towards me. What can I say? My hometown is flooded with so-called “Snowbirds” during the winter months and traffic becomes a nightmare. Walking around South Beach during the season? Forget it – too many people on the sidewalks. And if you think you can snag a dinner reservation anywhere good, then you’re wrong. Too many tourists!

I’m sure that many, many of the people who greeted me warmly as we passed on the sidewalks of St. John found my presence just as annoying as I do Miami’s tourists. But they sure fooled me. I’ll bet they’d be great at networking events – able to put a smile on their faces and make a stranger feel welcome and willing to do business with them. I know it’s a stretch to relate the kindness of the people of St. John to networking, but I’m going with it! And aside from that, their excellent attitudes (real or fake) are a great example for the people of Miami. Rather than feel annoyed by our own tourists, we at least act happy to have them here. I know that I am going to take a cue from the people I met during my Caribbean vacation and try to be a friendlier Miamian – and a jollier networker to boot!

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