Printed business cards may seem antiquated.
But they still reign at networking events.
Why? Because they’re convenient and tangible.
When you’re at a networking event, you want to exchange contact information quickly so you can make the most of your conversation in person.
Fiddling with your smartphone, finding a pen and scrap of paper, or trying to remember a social media handles don’t make it easy to stay in touch after the event ends. But a business card will give you all of the relevant contact information needed: the person’s name (and spelling), company, job title, email address, phone number, website, etc.
Business cards are also a tangible representation of the interactions you had at the event. When you bring home a business card, you’re more likely to recall the conversation. You’re also more likely to follow up with that person when you see the card the next day, which is part of building a long-lasting relationship that eventually leads to new creative collaborations, award-winning work, and paid job opportunities.
Here are some tips on using business cards at networking events.
Tips for using business cards
Do get your cards professionally printed.
If you’re on a shoestring budget as an independent filmmaker, getting cards printed may seem frivolous. But professionally printed cards make you look more professional. There are some reputable online print shops that make it really easy to get affordable cards, so it’s worth a little internet search.
Professionally printed cards will give you an edge at a networking event, especially one where people have made a financial investment to attend. You’re more likely to find the resources, connections, and opportunities you need with a professionally designed and printed card.
Do make sure cards an accurate representation of you.
If your business cards are outdated (wrong contact info, address, etc.), then they won’t do you much good. Striking through outdated phone numbers or email addresses may seem like a good idea but it comes across as amateur, unprepared, and unprofessional.
Similarly, if you’re handing out cards from an older project, you miss the chance to talk about what you’re currently working on. Make sure your cards have accurate info to help people remember you after the event ends.
If your old cards are a little stale, give yourself plenty of time to get new cards printed before the next networking event. (Hint: the TriFilm quarterly social dates are listed here: trifilmsociety.com/socials.)
Don’t throw cards out like candy at a parade.
When you’re at a networking event, it can be tempting to hand out as many business cards as possible. Resist the urge, however, because you’ll do yourself more harm than good. It’s much better to wait until you have a connection with someone, then simultaneously exchange contact info when the time is right.
Do hand out cards when asked.
When you make a connection with a like-minded person, you’ll naturally feel like you want to stay in touch after the networking event. This is the best time to exchange contact information. That’s when you request and/or offer a business card.
Do use cards for follow up.
If you’ve exchanged a few cards at a networking event, put them in a safe place when you get home. Sitting them on your keyboard so you’ll see them the next morning, on top of a purse, or next to your car keys will help you remember to follow up with those people quickly.
Better yet, set aside 30 minutes in your planner the morning after a networking event to send emails to those people saying it was nice to meet. Use specifics in your email such as the host, date, time, or location of the event so you can both recall your conversation with ease. If you want to follow up with a one-on-one conversation, ask which method is most convenient (phone, in person, etc.).
Do you have tips?
What networking or business card tips do you have? We’d love to hear from you. Use the comments below to share your ideas or ask questions.