Before handing out your business card, be sure you know these important tips.
When you head to a trade show event, whether you are attending as part of your business or as an individual, it can be easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of meetings, connections and exchanges that are happening around you. For instance, many exhibitors use trade shows to establish leads for their company, while some attendees are often looking for exhibitors to help them with their business goals. In other cases, individuals are just hoping to network and make a valuable connection with those also in attendance.
However, given all of the exchanges and introductions that are constantly happening across the trade show floor, how exactly are you supposed to handle each of these interactions and follow proper etiquette? For example, one aspect of trade shows that many people struggle with is the exchanging of the business card.
Sure, swapping business cards with someone can seem like a relatively simple task. However, when you are being introduced to dozens of people each and every day, it can become difficult to differentiate one person from another, remember which card belongs to whom, and even keep track of one business card among all of your other trade show pamphlets and handouts.
However, business cards still remain a vital part of the networking process and exchanging information with the right person or company could mean the difference between a successful trade show event and an unsuccessful one. So, what is the proper protocol for handling all of the business cards you seem to collect at trade shows? Here are our top three business card etiquette tips for your next conference:
Be Selective With Which Cards You Ask For
One of your main goals when attending a trade show event should be to identify qualified leads, potential employers or referral sources. However, while it is also good to meet and talk to people outside of those targets, you should only exchange business cards with someone you are seriously interested in keeping track of. Asking for business cards from people you are not interested in connecting with is the equivalent of requesting junk mail in your mailbox.
Read Over Business Cards When You Get Them
It’s easy to be forgetful with names, especially when you are meeting a large number of people in a short amount of time. However, when your trade show event is finished, you want to be able to associate each card with a face and a name. The best trick for doing this is to look at someone’s business card and read the name aloud as soon as they hand it to you. You can also write a short note on the back about what you talked about in order to jog your memory as you are shifting through the sea of cards.
Follow Up With People You Exchange Cards With
Make sure you do not waste beneficial contact information by not following up with someone. After your trade show, send a quick email to acknowledge your meeting and bring up the conversation you initially discussed. This not only starts up a conversation, but it also puts your address in the other person’s system.