Over the years I have organized and been to my fair share of networking events. There are many that were just simply amazing and yet I’m sad to say that there are still those “black jack business card dealers” who show up a shove a card in your face.
When attending a networking event many people think the best thing for anyone to do is to show up with a stack of business cards and leave with none. . . collecting as many business cards as they can along the way so they can sign you up for their email newsletter without once reaching out to you personally. Bleckt.
That type of mind set will NOT grow your business or welcome in truly helpful people. It will just make you look like an ass.
To me, if I leave a networking event with one or two cards from people I thoroughly enjoyed meeting and chatting with, it was worth my time. I’m not interested in doling out my hand made cards to just anyone.
For those of you who may not know, I make all of my personal cards and my company’s cards because I want us to be mindful of how we give them out. Knowing how much time goes into making them, I never deal them out like a black jack dealer. But thoughtfully and with intent. (plus I really enjoy being crafty!)
Imagine how you would feel (true story here) if you were at a networking event and someone you hadn’t met yet began making their way around the room shoving cards at people. I asked the person, when they got around to me, why they were giving their cards out in such an abrupt way and the answer was “I’m getting ready to leave and I don’t have time to talk to everyone.” The message here was really “You don’t really matter.” I call this the spray and pray approach.
Another example of something to leave off your networking checklist is showing up with a bag full of brochures and books. These should be left for a thoughtful follow up with the people you met and exchanged cards with not to be handed out to everyone within arms reach.
So enough with the ‘what not to do’ . . . let’s get down to the business of what SHOULD be on your list shall we?
These are a few things I think everyone should have on their “DO” networking checklist.
- business cards : remember, give them out thoughtfully and with intent.
- fully charged phone : keep a charger in your car or better yet get a solar charger.
- ball point pen or fine point sharpie : these write on slick cards easily
- breath mints : you can never have enough of these
- pen to share : always be prepared and have a pen to share
- smile : does this need an explanation?
- bump app : for those of you who are eco savy and want to exchange info easily. GREAT for conferences.
- social id’s of networking group, hashtag and sponsors for easy sharing, posting and tweeting!
When the networking event is over and before you go to bed, take the time to write on each card the date & event (hashtag etc.) of where you met each person.
It’s important that you keep track of these things while they are fresh in your mind.
Also, think about the conversations you had – are there any blog posts that you could write based on your inspirations from your experience at the event?
Be intentional about bringing more helpful people into your life.
Here are some great articles on networking that you may enjoy:
- 10 Tips for Successful Business Networking
- 24 networking tips that actually work
- 7 Tips for Networking
- An Introvert’s Guide to Networking
- 7 Tips for Surviving & Thriving at Networking Events
What’s on your networking checklist?