Networking? You need a business card

Sue's business cardTwice in the last two weeks, I ran into people I knew at a networking event. They were networking. Actively seeking work. Meeting new people.

Neither one had a business card.

Some people think that a printed business card is terribly old school. Yet it’s still the simplest way to give your contact information to someone you’ve just met.

What’s the alternative? Sure, people you meet might add your info by creating a new contact in their cellphones, but that takes time and effort. People might use pen and paper, if they happen to carry those tools; that also takes some fumbling around. You can ask to connect with them on LinkedIn later, but it’s still helpful for them to have something to remember you. A simple, economical paper card is still the way to go.

As I told my friends, don’t get hung up trying to decide how to categorize yourself (communications consultant? strategic communications advisor?). Simply put your name, telephone number and email address. You can always describe what you do or the job you’re looking for when handing the card over.

And don’t feel you have to paper a room with your card. Only give out those cards when you make a real connection with someone and have a reason to be in touch.

What do you think — is a paper business card still needed? If you don’t use one, what do you do?

Related posts:

Networking tips for IABC (and other) conferences
10 tips to network like a pro

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5 Comments

  1. Maryjane Martin
    Posted November 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

    Totally agree with you Sue. Make it as easy as possible to continue the conversation.

    Maryjane Martin

  2. Posted November 5, 2014 at 3:46 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for commenting, Maryjane! Nice to hear from you.

  3. Posted November 5, 2014 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    Great column, Sue. :-) I totally agree. Too many people only think digital today. A printed card is still a must. Not having one – especially at a networking event – is like getting to the theatre and forgetting your ticket.

  4. Posted November 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Hi Sue,
    I haven’t used a business card in years – either in giving or receiving. And, I run my own business and have a particularly difficult to spell last name. Perhaps, maybe it’s because I network in geekier circles than most, but I don’t see them very often anymore. If I meet someone and there’s a real reason to connect, I’ll do that digitally before I physically leave them. If not, and the need arises later, I’ve learned enough about them that a quick google connects me to them digitally, which is probably where most of our interactions will take place in future.

  5. Posted November 6, 2014 at 9:54 am | Permalink

    Interesting experience, Linda. Maybe that IS your geekier circle! I still think handing over a business card is way easier than you digitally adding the person or going to Google. But your method underlines the value of Googling yourself and making sure the right sites come up in a search. Thank you and Dean for commenting.

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