The Answer to Your Worst Networking Nightmare
Imagine you just met your ideal client at a networking event. He's friendly, has great ideas and could use a valuable person like you to help grow his business. Not to mention, he's the kind of person from whom you could learn a great deal as well. After all, networking is the creation and maintenance of mutually valuable relationships.
After chatting away, building rapport and connecting for a few minutes - the crucial time comes: the exchange of business cards. At his request, you give him your card. Then you ask for his card in return.
And at that moment, your worst networking nightmare comes true. He utters the one sentence you never want to hear from a new and potentially valuable contact:
"I don't have one of my business cards with me right now."
What do you do in this situation?
Some people become frustrated with the person who commits this cardinal sin of networking. Not a good idea. Although business cards are the number-one networking necessity, don't make a big fuss if someone doesn't have one. Unfortunately, it happens. People may be changing jobs, reprinting or assumed they didn't need their cards at the time. But calling them out will only reinforce emotions of their un-professionalism.
A common solution to this problem is suggested in most networking books: simply write your new contact's information on one of your own cards. Not a bad idea. But space is limited. And how many times have you written information down in your haste only to become completely baffled by your own hieroglyphics when you read your notes a week later? Perhaps this isn't your best option.
Another way to capture contact information is to use scrap paper. People do this all the time, and it's not an effective networking technique. Not only does it make you look inefficient and disorganized, but Donna Fisher, author of Networking for Dummies, explains that pieces of paper are more likely to get tossed or lost than business cards. So much for that idea.
Finally, the one attempt at solving this networking nightmare - which usually fails - is when the person says, "Well?just give me your card and I'll call you."
You can't depend on someone to call you. Not because they don't like you or because they're not interested in developing a mutually valuable relationship - but because people lose, forget and misplace things. They also meet lots of people every day - and it's challenging to differentiate yourself among the masses.
Therefore, the question still remains: How do you effectively and professionally capture the information of a valuable contact that doesn't have any business cards?
Thus far in the field of networking, there is yet to be a solution.
This is the answer to your worst networking nightmare, and it's called My Card?. Here's how it works:
When someone reluctantly tells you they don't have any business cards with them, reach into your pocket and offer them My Card?.
"You don't have one of your business cards with you?" you empathize, "Well, don't worry about it - it happens all the time! Here you go?"
On the front of the card you hand to them, it reads in sharp blue writing: My Card? - because to your new contact that doesn't have a business card, that's exactly what it is. It's their card!
"I want to help in any way I can - and also get to know you better," you explain. "Here! Fill out the card with the best way to reach you. Then I'll hang on to this one so we can be sure to stay in touch. And here are a few extras for you to keep with you until you get your new cards. I don't want you missing any networking opportunities!"
No scrap paper. No scribbles. No assumptions or hopes for future contact. Just a fun, simple, memorable, face saving tool that creates a connection between two people who want to build a relationship. What's more, when you graciously hand this card to someone you've just met, you will:
Basic to all victory as a successful business communicator is approachability, or "capability of being reached." So, if someone doesn't have their business card, they're not capable of being reached. They're not approachable. They can't be helped, and they can't help others.
But if you pull My Card? out of your pocket; tell your new friend to fill it out - and give them a few extra cards for future use - you will break down those barriers. You will save the day, save the information and save the face of the person you've just met. Not to mention, make their subsequent networking a lot easier.
You will become a Networking Superhero!
And you will turn friends into mutually valuable relationships. All because you took the initiative to empathize with someone who wanted to connect with you, but couldn't because they needed a front porch through which to express their inherent human desire to do so.
Remember: Interest in someone's business card = interest in them. And interest in other people is the most important rule of interpersonal communication.
My Card? is the answer to your worst networking nightmare - and someone else's. And for $10.00, you can own a 50 pack today, and you'll never miss another important networking opportunity again.
Click here to buy a pack today!
© 2005 All Rights Reserved.
Scott Ginsberg is a professional speaker, "The World's Foremost Expert on Nametags" and the author of HELLO my name is Scott and The Power of Approachability. He helps people MAXIMIZE their approachability and become UNFORGETTABLE communicators - one conversation at a time. For more information contact Front Porch Productions at http://www.hellomynameisscott.com.
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