You’ve picked the perfect paper and settled on the design. Your box of perfectly crafted contact information has finally arrived in the mail and… you throw it in the bottom drawer of your desk. Believe it or not, there is an art to using your business cards wisely, and it doesn’t involve handing out them indiscriminately.

Use these business card etiquette tips to stay on track and make a great first impression at your next networking event.

  • Don’t be an Oprah. First of all, you paid for that stack of business cards and, while it may seem endless, it’s not. Secondly, if you haven’t made (or even attempted) to foster a good connection with a potential lead, it’s in poor taste. After all, the gesture of handing out your card suggests a level of sincerity and genuine interest you should not take for granted. Remember, the networking event isn’t about large data gathering; it’s about relationship building, and this is the time to lay the foundation. If you’re being honest with yourself, you know you don’t have the bandwidth to take on (and successfully develop) relationships with 100 new people starting tonight. BOTTOM LINE: play hard to get! 
  • Ask and you shall receive. Just like you shouldn’t give out your cards haphazardly, you should likewise only take them thoughtfully. After speaking with someone, you’ll get a sense of whether or not they could be of benefit to you and vice versa. If someone asks you for your business card, give it to them and include a note about why or what you discussed, that way they’re more likely to remember you in a day or two. PRO TIP: don’t rely on a contact to call you back. If you are genuinely interested in connecting with someone, get their card. That way you’re in the driver’s seat! 
  • Follow up. A business card is an opportunity: an opportunity to connect with someone and grow your circle of influence. A contact may not immediately pan out into a sale, referral partner, or resource, but maintaining regular (and valuable) contact with your network can give you the opportunity to connect in the future. Be sure to personally contact each person you gathered a business card from and add them to your recurring email marketing campaign to stay updated on your latest news and tips.  

Grab your business cards, and these handy materials, and join us at our next Nashville Locals networking event!