Friday, September 19, 2008

Do you hand out more than one business card to a new contact at a networking event?

Someone has just commented on one of my videos on a social network with the comment that they always hand out two or three business cards whenever they meet someone. This is my reply:

I never, ever hand out more than one business card. In fact, I don't even do that unless they have asked for it or there is a specific reason why I want them to have it.

Why hand out more? In the hope or expectation that they will pass the spares out to others? That may happen occasionally, but in most cases your spare business cards go in the bin and you are your printer's favourite client!

I must have collected thousands of business cards over the years, some of which I actually wanted! There is no way I could carry them all around with me, and duplicates, to hand out when I see the opportunity.

If you want people to refer or recommend you, they need to see your face in their mind, not your business card in their wallet. If they then connect you by email, you are in far more control of the connection than if they had just given your business card to the other person.

4 comments:

  1. Laura McHarrie6:36 pm

    I very rarely take business cards with me! I prefer to collect contact details from people I meet (card is good!)and do the follow through myself.

    Last time I was offered two cards (last Christmas) with the cliche; one for you and one for a friend, I teased the giver mercilessly.

    It was very naughty of me and I am not sure I am forgiven. He has never been in contact. Could that be because I didn't give him one of my cards perhaps?

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  2. Andy, I agree that you don't need to give out more than one business card. I always find it strange when people give me more than one card. There is no way that I will hand out a card to someone else especially if I don't the person yet. Once I get to know a person and then feel comfortable making an introduction, I will then make an email introduction or provide the contact information.

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  3. Jan Vermeiren7:30 am

    What we have found is that most people experience someone else give them two business cards as very pushy.

    This makes them even more reluctant to introduce or refer this person to someone else (and that's why the second business card is given).

    In normal circumstances we only exchange business cards with people we have just met. And most of the times the conversation did not last too long.

    So the foundation for introductions and referrals is still very, very small.

    So we too advise NOT to GIVE two business cards to someone else.

    On the other hand what you could do is ASK for two business cards. One for yourself and one to pass one.

    Only do this with people you have a good feeling with and with a sincere intention to help to other person.

    Give this a try at your next networking event and see the reaction of the other person.

    Have a great networking day !

    Jan

    Jan Vermeiren
    Founder of Networking Coach (http://www.networking-coach.com)

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  4. I absolutely agree with the pushy comment. Giving someone more than one card on a first encounter is obnoxious.

    It's been quite a while since someone's tried it, but in the past I've had someone I have a good relationship with try and give me a stack of cards. I always politely decline.

    In this day and age all of my contacts are always with me in my BlackBerry. If I need to make a referral or introduction I have everything I need in there. It's probably been 10 years since I've given anybody somebody elses card. A good virtual introduction via e-mail is much more appropriate.

    Happy Networking!

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