When someone networks as much as I do, they undoubtedly come across many business cards. Some stick out in my mind as very professional, while others are nothing short of just awful. Below are some basic Dos and Don’ts to help you land in the “professional” pile!
Don’t Give that Spammer Your Business Card!
OK, we’ve all been there. You’re at a networking event talking to someone that clearly doesn’t understand the concept of networking and all they want to do is talk about themselves and their product/service. Blah!
Clearly there is no connection and next thing you know, he/she is asking you for your business card. You panic as the voice inside your head starts playing, “OMG, I don’t want to give you my card. You’re just going to add me to your spam list but I don’t know what to do right now because I’m networking and I think I’m supposed to give you my card! Ahhh!!!”
You know what I’m talking about... Right? So what do you do?
DON’T GIVE HIM/HER YOUR CARD! It’s that simple. Is it being rude? Maybe (depends on how you handle the situation). But is it rude of them to just talk about themselves the whole time and then ask to take your card and start sending you unsolicited information?
Here is what you say:
“John, thank you so much for showing an interest in taking my business card, but right now I’m the one collecting business cards and I’ll be happy to follow up with you at an appropriate time.”
It’s as simple as that! When is the appropriate time to follow up you ask? If it’s someone you really want to meet for coffee, I would follow up the same day. If it’s someone you hope to never see again, I would probably follow up…never
It’s all about meeting the right people and making the right connections. You don’t have to get to know everyone or end up on everyone’s email list. The key is to weed out the right people and always do it with a smile on your face!
And for those of you that walk around collecting people’s cards to spam them later…please stop! This is a huge networking faux pas. Please focus on making real connections with people at events – your networking experience, along with everyone else’s, will be much better. I promise!