As many of you know, I attended BlogHer ’08 in San Francisco this past July. My husband and I had just discovered we were pregnant (much to our delight) the night before my departure…and I felt myself slipping into the land of nausea shortly thereafter. But I decided to go anyway.
I never really did give an adequate “re-cap” of my trip due to the fact that morning sickness quickly took over from there and I won’t do that here. BUT I would like to point out that I was a bit taken aback by the onslaught of business cards that awaited me.
Since there are quite a few other blogging/business conferences coming up that you may be attending (Blissdom, Mom 2.0 Summit, BlogHer ’09, SXSW Interactive, to name a few…), I thought I’d give a brief “lesson” on business card etiquette…in the off-chance that you’re nervous about that kind of thing.
There is, after all, a proper way to use and distribute business cards in order to maximize their potential.
Here is what NOT to do:
- Hand someone your business card at the onset of a conversation and/or before you have had an opportunity to “connect.”
- Give your business card to ANYONE who is breathing before gauging his/her interest level in your product, service, or blog.
- Prepare an “elevator pitch” about your business/blog and give it with timed perfection like those guys at the county fair who sell fancy schmancy blenders that will chop up absolutely anything in under 10 seconds.
Essentially, the purpose of the business card is to serve as a “reminder,” to jog a person’s memory about you…because you were just so incredibly likable and professional. You need to connect FIRST, “sell” second.
The Golden Rule applies. Think about the other person first. Ask about his/her business/blog/interests. Say something memorable. Talk about something interesting. Be genuinely kind. THEN – after the conversation and the laughter – THEN AND ONLY THEN should you pull out a business card.
Even then, I’m not a fan of just forcing it into the other person’s hands. Good manners should still be present. Why not say gracefully, “It was so nice meeting you and hearing about XXX (your two-year-old, how you ended up at this conference, etc.). Would you be interested in keeping in touch?” There, that wasn’t so hard.
And when you accept a business card, don’t just stuff it in your pocket or purse (where it is sure to be scrunched up, forgotten, or colored on by your toddler). Write a little note to yourself on the back (“she works in the marketing dept.” or “he has a 3-year-old” or “her daughter is heading to college this fall”) so you can follow-up properly. Then, file the business card away in your pretty, professional, and pink 72 ct. Business Card Case by Rolodex (on sale at Amazon.com right now for $17.49).
Okay, you don’t have to have that specific case. But I will point out that it is a “beauty.” The faux leather is so sleek and sharp-looking. The snap front is classy and it’s a handy size – not too bulky to carry with you from session to session. Plus, it features a mini notepad and pen loop for easy note-taking.
I also have the Rolodex Resilient Pink Journal (~$20) and it is equally attractive. It includes both a large and small notepad, a place for handouts, 2 pen loops, and 5 small pockets for business/credit cards. I bring this one to meetings with me – especially when I want to leave my purse and laptop behind.
Whether you’re promoting your mom blog, your Arbonne business, your design business, or your PR company…remember that organization is crucial and friendliness isn’t optional. Consider others first. Smile. Relax. Be thoughtful. Don’t be “sales-y.” That’s the real way to win customers…and to make friends.
YOUR TURN: Are you going to any blogging/business conferences in 2009?
WIN IT! One winner will receive the Resilient Pink 72 ct. Business Card Case AND the Resilient Pink Journal by Rolodex. To enter, leave a comment on this post prior to Saturday, January 10 at midnight (don’t forget to follow the rules). * Winner must provide a U.S. mailing address.
*UPDATE* The winner is #134 JenniferR. Congratulations!