Business cards are the quintessential networking tool of commerce — the aesthetics of your card is someone’s first impression of you; giving a quick snapshot about who you are as an individual. Seemingly everyone’s objective is to make a good professional impression; however, the card design itself can sometimes get in the way of what you’re trying to represent. That’s not what we’re going to talk about today, we’re going to talk about the social etiquette surrounding how to successfully ‘network’ with your business card.
You Handed Me Your Business Card As If It Were An Event Flyer and Walked Away
Networking is the ‘exchange’ of information and services among individuals, not the dissemination of information or services to individuals. Cultivating a relationship during that exchange should be the objective.
You Introduced Yourself. Handed Me Your Card — Went Into the Sales Pitch About ‘You’
If you remember nothing else: people respond by you being genuinely interested in them — Dale Carnegie hit the nail right on the head with this. Talking ‘at’ someone, and not dialogue with that someone; quickly turns that exchange into an uncomfortable moment of ‘how can I exit this one-sided conversation?’
ADDED TIP: Exit by waiting for a pause, and then say “Thank you, it was good talking with you.” Whether or not it was an enjoyable experience, it’s courteous to thank them for their company.
You Scratched-Off With A Sharpie or/Pen — and Wrote On Your ‘Business Card’ the Correct Information, With No Explanation
I have absolutely no tolerance for scratched-off information on your business card, before you hit the ‘Submit For Print’ button from your card maker on-line; you should have meticulously viewed the erroneous on your card. It’s not professional, and it makes for an adverse impression of your said business…period. When you hand me your card — it should come with confidence, professional acumen and zeal, and not a sharpie mark.
You ‘Hit’ On Me
This can apply to men and women — we’re here to network, not romantically mingle. Understandably, if sparks do fly, that’s okay; however, now is not the time to act upon the lust of someone while at a networking event. You will come across creepy and less-reputable. Women already have the challenge of coming across as influential, poised and sound in a sometimes male dominated setting.
I Don’t Know Why I Have Your Business Card
Did I ask for your card? Or did you come up to me and start talking, and immediately handed me your business card? I have then walked away from the conversation not knowing — what purpose you will serve me, or how I can help you. You should only give your business card when asked for it — once this happens, it means that they are interested in you, your value and learning more about you.
You Left ‘My’ Business Card On the Table or Bar, After You Asked For It
We engaged, had a brief conversation, and then you ask me for my card — perfect! But you left my card behind — why’d you ask for it?
Getting someone’s business card is not necessarily protocol at networking events — you get someone’s card with the expectancy of engaging further in building rapport. Networking is not a sprint — it’s a marathon. Networking is also a contact sport, you should focus on giving, not getting.