Don’t be a Card Shark!

I’ve been ranting about business card finesse for over 25 years and I thought by now there would  be no need to keep doing it. I assumed business people would get it, change behavior and stop being card sharks forever. Apparently, that’s not the case … so here we go again!

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 four 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, simply say ‘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.