Handing out a business card in certain situations can be a bold move, but it can certainly pay off in the end. If you're strategic and smooth, you can slip your 3.5 by 2 inch piece of personal advertising into the hands of just about anyone. Try these moves next time you're out and about.
A night on the town
Okay, so you don't want to be waving around your business card with all of your personal information on it when you've been throwing back cocktails at happy hour. But, you can certainly use social situations to your advantage for networking opportunities. As Inc. magazine pointed out, these events can be a bit awkward and dry but if you know how to get around, you'll have a better chance of passing off a business card to the right person.
Inc. suggests these tips for networking events:
- Chat up the right groups. This means that you should already know who you'd like to meet with before the party gets started, maybe an industry expert or your boss.
- Rehearse what you're going to say prior to arrival but don't sound like a broken record.
- Put your extrovert self aside and ask for other people's input whom you're interested in getting to know.
Ok so now you've nailed your first networking event, you can relax, right? No way! There are plenty of other creative ways to slip your business card to people in your network.
Meeting with noncompetition
If you're in any sort of business, it's likely your company has allies. From time to time you'll have to meet with these folks to discuss the workings of your professional relationship. Before you slither away, ask if you can leave a stack of business cards, suggested Entrepreneur. Remember, this isn't knocking on your competitor's door begging for help.
In this scenario, you might work for a cellphone company and the other business sells mobile device security packages. Since you two complement one another and the cards won't interfere with the other person's business, he or she is more inclined to say yes. It'll be a chance for you to garner an entirely new group of people who clearly need your services.
Network through social life
You probably don't think that spending the weekend in Maine for a friend's wedding is a time to network but you're wrong. Get to know people in the circles of different industries that intertwine with your social life. It's likely the DJ, bartender, band and other people might have some connections in your field.
Don't hesitate to accept some of theirs in return and pass them along. This can be a "give and take" situation. You can both help each other. Plus it looks good if you can make cool recommendations to people in your network.
During small talk
In general, it's a good idea to keep business cards with you at all times. Demand Media suggested putting them in wallets, coat pockets, your car, anywhere. Oftentimes, there is no silver bullet to making a great network connection. Your server at a restaurant could be tied to someone whom you'd like to get to know.
Be ready for when the opportunity arises. Smile, be confident and hand over your business card.