So here we are in 2016, and business cards are no longer the first thing I get excited about when I join a new company or move up the ladder. Why? Because in the amazing age of technology we live in, a little piece of cardboard only lends itself to cluttering up my desk/drawer/bag and contributing to the cull of more trees (be nice to the trees). They are reminiscing of a time before digital (aren’t we all trying to forget the pre-digital era) and instead there are other ways to connect and stored details with new contacts plus let’s be honest…a small piece of cardboard CAN’T be the way we calculate our professional worth?
Here are a few ways to connect and network without the paper:
Social media is your friend, your best friend actually. Particularly Linked In. Sooner, rather than later, connect with someone you have met that you want to engage with professionally on some level, yo source a job, to collaborate or just because you have a connection that you know will lend itself to an excellent professional relationship. This way you can also learn a bit more about that person and their skills and better figure out how to leverage the relationship to suit both your needs.
Where’s your phone? Come on, where is it? I don’t know anyone who does not walk about with phone very close by these days, either in hand or in a pocket very close by, so use it. When you meet a new connection, add them to your address book immediately. Not only does it mean you won’t lose it like you may, and often do, a business card, it is also more personal and shows your willingness to connect.
Chop, chop! Get their email and send a brief summary to follow up immediately. Being swift to connect helps build relationships and reinforces anything that you chatted about earlier on. Make sure you leave all your contact details so they can call, email, Linked In, carrier pigeon..whatever. Leave all your contact details.
Meetings, busy, phone calls, err what? Don’t be vague. Don’t make loose plans to connect again in the future, instead make a plan then and there to follow up on a video call or in person. Arranging a meeting on the spot shows genuine interest which in turn leaves a positive lasting impression.
So do you still want to hand out that business card? What are your tried and tested ways to connect with professional contacts?