As professionals we have to be better at networking. I went to a social event, it was actually a “new position” celebration, and there were many people from the industry or related to the industry that attended. Even though it was casual, I ended up connecting and meeting some really good contacts. When I got home and went through my card holder I only found one business card (though I had exchanged my number a few times that night via my cell phone).
One of the attendees actually told me that they only had a few cards left and were being strategic in who they passed it out to. It didn’t bother me that we didn’t exchange cards nor that I wasn’t on his “it” list. What bothers me is that the only actual card I got was from a Deputy Director, but everyone else I spoke with either had no cards or didn’t bring enough… Lesson here:
- A Senior Executive had his cards…take note.
- If you have cards…bring enough. I had my bag with me, so when I ran out, I was able to refill my card case. And YES, I always have a pack of extra with me.
- If you don’t have cards…Get Cards!
- The ART of networking is not irrelevant, it is not a lost art. On the contrary, because of the over use of technology to build connections, it has become ever more important. Passing out a biz card can be received with the same excitement as getting a hand written letter. It is even more impressive when an entry level or technical professional has them because the opposite is expected!
Not every industry requires the use of business cards – many companies are implementing better sustainability programs – but if your industry is high touch, if your executives, managers, and c-suites carry them, then you best have them yourself!
Quick note: Invest in a card case/holder. It doesn’t have to be fancy (mine is a base silver color). Passing out a card with bent edges or worn lettering is like walking out your house with a wrinkly suit. It’s not polished, it looks sloppy, and no one is really gonna take you seriously.