That pile of business cards

Most of us have a pile of business cards that we’ve collected from networking and other meetings, whether the pile is in the desk drawer, in a folder or scattered across various locations.
A clear out of my office at the weekend brought my own advice to the fore.
I found a pile of business cards in a tray, in addition to the growing mound on my desk. In the spirit of cleansing my office, it was time to tackle them!I sorted through, looking at each one and making an instantaneous decision between ‘keep’ and ‘bin’. The ‘keep’ pile was significantly smaller.
If you are someone who has given me their card, you may now question which pile yours joined. However, if it was ‘bin’, that is not necessarily a bad thing.
The sorting was done subconsciously. Afterwards, I reflected on what rationale I’d used to decide each card’s destination.
The conclusion I came to was that it reflected a little decision tree in my head. ‘Keep’ meant the card belonged to someone I could recall and importantly liked. Therefore, even if I couldn’t see a future way we could help one another or work together, it stayed. It means I want to keep up a connection with that person and indeed will contact them again.
The ‘bin’ pile was slightly more complicated. On the positive, it was people who I am now connected to in some other way e.g. LinkedIn, email so I know how to find them if/when appropriate. I also realised, those people are those who are positively memorable to me (and therefore I like).
The others are people that I cannot recall at all or I can but am not inclined to be connected to them in any more meaningful way than on LinkedIn (that is not saying that LinkedIn can’t be meaningful!).
So you can see that the ‘bin’ pile is not necessarily negative!
What this emphasised (just in case I ever doubted it) is the importance of following up (my part as well as theirs) and being positively memorable!
Many of those who were binned were ‘card thrusters’ i.e. Forced their card on me and in so doing were negatively memorable or not memorable at all.
So remember when networking:

  • To be positively memorable
  • To build relationships not just give out your business cards
  • To follow up where appropriate

How about your pile of business cards? Is it time to tackle them? My goal is to keep the pile smaller and sort it regularly.
Make sure your card and others are a useful tool at the start of a potential relationship, rather than a piece of clutter! Importantly, focus on being positively memorable.
If you’d like help with your networking strategy (including following-up) and being positively memorable, contact me to see if/how I can help, do email me [email protected]
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By |2018-08-08T07:32:34+00:00February 1st, 2016|Networking, Personal impact|3 Comments

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  1. Nigel Davey March 9, 2016 at 1:07 pm - Reply

    Now you have sorted your pile of cards, what are you doing with them?
    Simply keeping them as a memory reminder?
    Adding them to your CRM and asking how they want to interact with you?
    Adding them to your mailing list and spamming them to death – please not this one?
    Having a well-sorted pile is great, but you have got to do something with them or they will just go into the bin next time you have a sort-through

  2. Nell Light March 10, 2016 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Dear Joanna, this was a very interesting article from a point of view I had not previously considered.
    Many thanks!

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