Friday, June 01, 2007
66 Tips To Better Networking - #2
Always Carry Business Cards
I am amazed how often business professionals do not carry their business cards. While this might not seem like a big deal, not having a card sends the message that you are not prepared.
A business card is a necessary tool when you are interacting in a professional setting. At the end of a conversation it is common to ask for the other person's card. It sends a message that you find the other person important enough to be worthy of future conversations. To ask for a card and not have one to exchange also makes you look like a "taker": "please give me your contact information, but I will not give my information to you". It is even worse if they ask you and you say that you do not have a card. It is disappointing to someone to make a small request and be denied.
Many people wonder how you end a conversation in a networking situation. By asking for a card you bring closure to the discussion....so having cards that you can easily exchange can also free you from some of those long winded talkers!
I had a local law firm tell me that they teach their attorneys NEVER to carry business cards. The purpose is to allow them to control the follow up. By not having a card, they would say "Oh, I do not have one, but if you give me yours, I will send you my contact information". The problem was that few of them had the dedication to really do this, thus they were setting themselves up as not only unprepared, but also as liars....since they know they will not most likely follow up. Don't try to come up with some fancy reason to not carry cards...just have them on you all the time.
Keep a small stash of business cards in your wallet, your car, your suit pockets, etc... I recently showed up to a business event without business cards....and my wife and I had switched cars. Now I keep a dozen cards in my wife's car too! This also a good idea because then you have access to cards all the time, even when you are not in a professional setting. You want to have a card in case you meet a potential client in a social setting who asks for you card. I do not recommend regularly passing out your cards at your kid's soccer games or other non-business event, but if someone asks....you certainly want to be able to produce a card. Make it easy for customers to find you in the future if they so desire.
Have A Great Day.