People can get uptight because they don't have the funds for a fancy business card. While presentation is helpful, the bottom line is the information.
Note: the card doesn't have to be a special shape, or super shiny and glossy. Even if the information is handwritten, or a simple Microsoft Word print out that you cut with scissors, it helps. The "card" may look "bootleg", but as long as the information is accurate and legible, it can help.
It's definitely worth it!
And no, we did not get paid for that shout out! Check RetailMeNot.com for any special deals. There may be other ads and deals found elsewhere.
Whenever you go to a conference, such as the Reload Urban Youth Workers conferences, there are old friends, but often new people who you could have great professional or even personal relationships later on after the event. They may also be a connection to a much needed resource. The possibilities are endless.
So some quick notes to remember about business cards and making them an effective tool:
- The night before you leave your home, make sure you have a bunch of business cards with you (I suggest putting a few in your wallet, a few in a shirt or coat pocket, several in your notebook or calendar, and even more in your computer/tablet case.
- While an impressive looking card is nice, having the basic info on a piece of paper the size of a card will work just fine
- Handwrite the event you are at before giving your card. It will help the recipient remember how you met
- Once you get your business cards, take a bunch and stash them in various places where you can access them: your wallet, purse, computer bag, messenger bag/briefcase, car glove compartment, jacket, conference name tag (if it allows for storage). Doing the entire list sounds excessive, but you never know when you can use them!
- Schedule a time after your conference to review the cards YOU have collected. The point isn't collecting them like baseball cards -- it is to use them as tools for future relationships.
Now, I did want to note that sending business card information electronically (such as via smartphone) is helpful. But there are some dangers of that as well:
- Your information can be deleted, sometimes to easily. Anyone who currently has a 2 year old can testify to that.
- Your information can get buried. Unless you are a major speaker, you will only be one of 200-400 other contacts.
Business cards are a small thing, but they can provide big benefits later on.
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