Networking Tips: Put That Business Card to Work
Networking can be awkward for everyone - yes, even for your Member Relations social butterflies, Cate and Scott! For that reason, we will offer basic networking tips every month to help you prepare for events, quell your anxieties, and learn to make the most of any networking opportunity.
Remember, it's all about building community and making connections that inspire deeper conversations!
Is your business card pulling its weight in your networking efforts? Make sure you're getting the most value out of this handy tool by keeping the following tips in mind:
HAVE THEM ON-HAND
Probably the most obvious tip, but it's worth repeating: bring your business cards with you wherever you go. You never know when you may connect with someone while waiting in line at the grocery store, at after school pick-up, or at an actual networking event. Keep a stash in your wallet, at home, in each of your handbags, and in your car (or other regular mode of transportation, if possible), so that you're not caught empty-handed after making a great connection.
USE THEM TO CLARIFY YOUR NETWORKING GOALS
Before an event, set a goal for yourself. Write it on the back of one of your cards and keep it in your pocket for the duration of the event. Networking goals can include anything, from “Connect genuinely with four people” to “Meet someone from the outdoor industry.” A physical reminder of your goals for your networking time will help you keep yourself accountable.
ASK YOURSELF THE "THREE FACTS" QUESTION BEFORE YOU EXCHANGE CARDS
Before you give or ask for a card, ask yourself this: “Can I name three unique facts about this person?” If not, keep talking with them before asking for a card. When the interaction is superficial, the follow-up is less likely to have a positive outcome.
Ways to ask for a card:
- “I would love to follow up with you about [topic you discussed]. Do you have a card?”
- “Would you like to grab coffee at a later date to continue this conversation? Do you have a card?”
Use a card to write down where you were when you made a great connection, and one thing about the other person to help you remember the conversation. This will also serve as a handy reference for your follow-up conversation via email, phone call, or LinkedIn message.
Again, this tip is obvious but crucial enough to emphasize. If you felt that you connected enough with someone to ask for their card, take the next (and most important) step of following up within a week, and ideally within 36 hours. What is it that you would like out of this connection? Acknowledge the encounter and make an ask! Meeting someone at an event is the first step in the evolution of a new friend or business connection.
Need to brush up on a few other networking skills? Click here for the rest of the Boulder Chamber's Networking Tips series, and check out upcoming networking opportunities on our events calendar here.