Have you ever wondered how to organize the flood of business cards you get when you’re out networking? If you don’t do it right, you can look inexperienced and unprofessional.
Here’s an easy system to make you look great when you’re promoting yourself:
1. Start off with a suit jacket that has both pockets open. If you’re a lady, a pantsuit can usually accommodate a couple of cards. If you’re dressed in business casual (dress shirt and pants, but no jacket) you can still use this technique with the pockets of your pants, however, it may not be as smooth, if you have tight or deep pockets.
Cool Fact About Suits: Most suits come with the pockets sewn shut to make the suit easier to press at the factory and also to stop someone from jabbing their hand into the pocket and ruining it at the store. It’s completely fine to carefully open the pockets. The rule of thumb is to only keep non-bulky items in your pockets.
2. Put your business cards in the LEFT pocket.
3. As you shake hands, pull a card out of your left pocket with your left hand and give it to the person. This leaves your right hand free to do the shaking.
4. As you receive cards, look them over carefully for a second or two before sliding it into the RIGHT hand pocket of your suit.
Keeping your cards separate from other peoples cards makes you look like a pro, and it prevents you from having to dig through the whole stack to find one of yours. If your pocket ever gets full, you can periodically transfer cards into a pant pocket, a purse, or an outer coat if you have one. It`s good to at least take a glance at the card to show you care instead of grabbing the card and mashing it into your pocket.
5. When you get a big lead, try to stop what you’re doing and make your way over to some place quiet. Spend some time writing out what you talked about, so you don’t mix it up with other conversations during the night. I recommend you don’t write on anyone else’s card when they’re watching, as it may be taken as a sign of disrespect (Metaphorically speaking, you’re writing all over them). I couldn’t care less if someone wrote on my card, but to some people it’s a big issue. If you really need to write something, ask first. Something as simple as, “Would you mind if I jotted down the date and time on here so I don’t forget,” should work fine.
6. At the end of the night, look over all the cards and write out notes on as many as you remember. You’d be amazed at how much you can forget overnight.
7. Don’t forget to send a short one or two sentence follow-up email telling the people you met you met what a pleasure it was. You’ll score bonus points if you send them an article or link based on what you talked about.