Imagine handing your card to someone at a networking event and having it handed back to you with “I don’t need it.” Well, that’s exactly what happened to Juan Vides recently. Juan found this pretty insulting, and he wrote to me to ask how I thought someone should respond in this situation.
A business card is a tacit invitation to make a future connection. How you handle that connection afterward will determine how responsive your new contact will be. So be respectful with what you do after someone gives you their card.
You should always have plenty of business cards with you. It still amazes me that people go to networking events and knowingly don’t bring cards with them. I recently read a blog where many people said they didn’t bring cards so that they wouldn’t get spammed by people they meet. Really? Have they never heard of a spam filter? I use it regularly with unwanted spam. Besides, that argument is like saying I don’t want to advertise because someone might read the ad and cold call me? What kind of logic is that? Buck-up, dandelion, bring cards. It is a “networking” event!
The ideal scenario is to have a meaningful (even if brief) conversation with someone where they ask for your business card (how to do that is an entirely different blog). However, that doesn’t always happen. When it doesn’t, it is still ok to offer your business card to someone. There is nothing wrong with that.
Refusing to take someone’s offered card is just plain bad form and it’s probably too late to send them back to Mom for retraining on how to play with the other kids in the sandbox.
So what do you do if this happens to you? Pick the correct choice below:
- Squash a cupcake on their nose and say “take that, you dandelion.”
- Say “Really, you [bad word, bad word] dirty [bad word], I hope I never see you again at one of these events.
- Let’s go outside and finish this (like someone I actually know did at a networking event!)? or
- Realize that some people just have little or no people skills and move on to someone who does.
The correct answer is number four however, for the record, I kind of like number one a lot.