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Career Networking and Business Cards: Diving in further #2

So you go to a networking event and you’ve got your card handy, ready to give someone. How do you handle that initial "card swap" smoothly and easily?

Business Card Tips and Etiquette

Here’s one good rule of thumb to follow:

1. Card first, then chat.

If you know ahead of time that you’ll be swapping business cards, then it’s often a good idea to get it out of the way first thing. This way, not only is the exchange taken care of and you don’t have to worry about it later, but you can make a mental note of the person’s name with whom you’re speaking, and their company name as well. Then you can dive into the conversation as well and don’t have to remember later to swap cards.

If you’re at a networking event, you know you’ll be swapping business cards so reaching for your card up front is ok and a good idea. But if you’re not at this type of event and this person seems like a good networking contact, how do you handle it? This has been awkward for me in the past because I don’t want to seem overzealous with handing over my card. I want it to be smooth and easy. So I’ll wait for the right moment in the conversation to say something like, "I’d love to stay in touch with you. Can I give you my card? Perhaps we can get together for coffee or something to discuss this further." Or – even better – they’ll ask for my card themselves.

This brings me to an imp point: Before I attend any event where I think I might make contacts I always make sure to have my cards easily accessible in my purse. I want to get to them quickly without it seeming like the only reason I was there was to comb for contacts. I have a fun and funky business card case. For men, you can simply have them in your wallet in your pocket. But — I recommend having them with you. I gotta tell you there were times when I didn’t have them and wished I’d did because someone asked for one. Sometimes later on the moment is lost.

Good luck with your next networking event! Hallie – Career tips