Don’t be a Card Shark!

Regular readers realize the mission-critical value of effective, efficient and compelling networking. Properly done, it can result in easily learning important information to help you do your jobs better or find better jobs or grow your businesses. It can sometimes even lead to creating new mutually beneficial business relationships.

To that end, one of your primary resources in your Networking Tool Kit is your simple, little, low-tech business card. Since you only get a few moments to make the best possible positive first impression on strangers, what you do – and don’t do – with your business card can make a significant difference.

Consider these simple Network Pro strategies that will help you avoid coming off like a Card Shark!

1. Don’t give your card to people at the beginning of a conversation. Wait until you have a reason to want their card or to want them to have yours.

2. After a short focused chat, decide if you think the other person is someone you could help … or … who could help you. If so, then ask them for their card. Write a note on the back indicating where you met and what you discussed. This should prompt them to ask for yours.

3. If they don’t, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re not interested in you. It just means they haven’t asked you for your card … yet.

4. Then, ask May I give you my card? instead of “Would you like my card?” Almost everyone will say yes. And don’t take it out of your pocket until they do. Write a similar note on the back of yours.

This simple little strategy can project a positive first impression of uncommon courtesy and professionalism. It can also help differentiate you from all those amateur Card Sharks networking at the same event.


  1. Gary Szelagowski
    Posted April 5, 2014 at 5:30 am | Permalink

    Great advice, Phil. I’ve actually started respectfully declining cards in most instances. Unless I have the greater interest in the connection, I give folks mine ask them to connect on LinkedIn. I tell ‘em that I know they pay for the cards, and the world’s electronic anyway.

    This also puts the onus on them to make the e-connection, which becomes a gauge of their true interest. AND, it cuts down on clutter by making LinkedIn my “big electronic Rolodex”!

    • Phil Stella
      Posted April 7, 2014 at 7:34 pm | Permalink

      Gary … thanks so much for your nice comments and sharing such a great idea. I’ll add it to the Tool Kit I share with clients. I so appreciate you being such an engaged reader.