Every year, I attend a conference. I have wonderful conversations with interesting women and men from all over the country and come away with an expanding network… and a stack of business cards.
Don’t get me wrong – I love business cards. They can be creative, interesting, and incredibly effective at creating a lasting connection.
However, there are some downsides. Inevitably, cards get lost or I run out of cards. I try to write a quick note about how I met someone or a follow-up note on a card, but it’s bad etiquette to write on a business card and there’s rarely enough space. Then, what happens when I get home? I have a huge stack of business cards that I spend time converting to contacts anyway.
Finally, I had a brilliant idea to make my life and others a tad easier.
In conjunction with carrying business cards (be respectful that others prefer them), create a phone contact about yourself to share with new acquaintances.
- Convenience. If you’ve run out of business cards or find yourself without them in reach, you always have something shareable at your fingertips.
- Ease. Simply ask your new contact for their cell phone number, click “Share Contact” and message all of your data over to them.
- Personalization. If any factors in your life should change (ie. email address, job title, phone number), you don’t have to print new cards. Just edit your contact card to reflect the changes.
Sold yet? Great! Here are some guidelines.
- Create a new contact and fill it out with as much information as you see fit.
- Social Profiles: At a minimum, add your LinkedIn profile information. This is often left off of business cards and is a great way to activate your networking.
- Notes: This is the perfect opportunity to include a note to your new contact. Mine says “It was a pleasure to meet you at [event name/location here]. I look forward to connecting again with you soon.”
Do not ignore the Notes section! I repeat, do not ignore the notes section!
Why? In addition to providing a built-in “How did we meet?” note for your new acquaintance, the contact card content is also searchable. I can make a quick note about topics we discussed or follow-up items. When I get home and want to send out follow-up emails, I just search my contacts for the event name or the topics. Ta-da! I have a comprehensive list of everyone I met and follow-ups I need to make. We also know that after conferences, forgetting people’s names just happens. This makes it easier to find the contact and avoid social or professional faux pas.
Again, I’m not saying that you should toss all your business cards in the trash, but be sure to have a technology alternative. You won’t regret it!
Give it a try and let me know how this works for you.