I have an unnatural love for business cards. Even the terrible ones.
Especially the terrible ones.
Fun fact: I've kept ALL of the business cards I've ever received. If you've given me a business card, chances are likely that it's in a business card binder.
Business cards need to help you do one thing: make the person remember you.
When you network, you need to be create a connection between you and the other person. And not just a transient connection.
Remember, people only buy/work with people they like.
To do that, you have to create a personal connection. The hardest part of networking is creating a personal connection. But I have a tip where you can make it easier on yourself.
The One Tip You Can't Not Use
A simple tactic I chose at PeopleMetrics is to create a variety of backs for each of our employees. We use a provider called Moo.com (excellent card stock and the option for different backs included in base price).
The front of the card is a standard business card, with clean lines and clear information, but the back is a different story.
The back features one of three interesting facts about the person handing the cards out. When you are giving your business card to someone, you then create a choice. Present the three options for the person to choose.
When you do this, that person then knows three interesting things about you, and then self selects to relate to you with one of the options. When they choose that option, you have an instant connection and are allowed to press for more information regarding why they choose that card.
If they aren't thrilled by one of the options, you probably shouldn't be networking with that person.
How To Follow Up After The Event
Then, when you go back to follow-up with an email, make sure to reference the moment you had where you shared personal information with each other.
Sometimes, we aren't able to let go of our business personas. This makes you have a human moment with another human, instead of a connection with a potential business partner.
So, Print New Cards
Or, not. If you have cards that you don't want to throw out, get a Sharpie and handwrite your facts. Or print some sticker labels to apply. Trust me, it's a hit at events. I've given my card to a small group of people, and they fight like children over which fact they get to take home.
Do you have a networking tip for me? Let me know in the comments below.