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Networking Series - Chapter 7 - Business Cards

DATE: 7/8/2014
You are wrong if you think that business cards are dead in an era of electronic signatures. Business cards still serve as your weapon in Networking. Always have a business card on you.
Networking Series - Chapter 7 - Business Cards.

You will be asked to give your business card, not your contact information because it still is the tool for people to exchange information. Make sure your business card shows your name, position, company, your landline or mobile number for business, and your e-mail address. On top of that, you may also provide your personal mobile phone, your firm's address and information about your website. 
Business cards mirror how professional you are. You may have a colorful personality but business cards mean business. A plain design would be much more attractive than an eye-straining one. Make sure the information on the card is current. Upon a change in your information, don't be tempted by the laziness to renew them only when you're out of stock. Otherwise you will have to manually correct the piece of information anytime you're about to exchange business cards, which would not look elegant. You need to also make sure that it does not have any spelling mistakes. 
One common question is when you are supposed to give your card. The thing is, it does not matter. If you want to give someone a call, you ask their business card and give your own. That's it!  
Don't forget, though, that you're not exchanging cards to add one more in your collection. Therefore, only get the cards of those you're sure to call in the future, rather than collecting any card that may not be of use. Or call only those from whom you got a business card. 

Don't simply throw it in your bag without reading what this business card may offer you. Repeat to yourself the name of the person you're talking to.  
For organizational purposes, you may also want to keep others' business cards in a different pocket than the one in which you're keeping yours. This will save you from the hassle of skimming and scanning through numberless cards that do not belong to you once you're asked to give yours. 

By the way, do not hastily offer your business card to a senior executive! Yes, self-confidence is handy but it may also put you in the trouble of looking foolish in some cases. They will ask your business card if they're considering to give you a call.
Last but not least, put your phone on silent throughout an event. Avoid colloquial language and slang. 
After the event, make an assessment of how it went either by yourself, or together with those, if any, who accompanied you. Make a list of the points that are worth noting. Write down the people you met, what you need to follow up, and what you think you're planning to research. For Networking purposes, determine how to follow up on people whose contact information you got. Weigh in on your new connections and who else to introduce. 
An inherent gift is not a prerequisite for Networking. It would not make sense to feel bad about yourself just because it did not work out the first time. Remember that networking is a skill you improve by experience. You are supposed to experiment, fail, and try again until you develop the right Networking approach cut out for you. 


Ertugrul Belen & Optimist Publishing House