7AM. Holiday Inn Suva. Due to packed Thursday schedules I was catching up at breakfast with an out of town friend before our first appointments of the day. Thanks to daily instant messaging across the miles we were already caught up on family and life, our conversation looked like it was headed into deeper waters of life goals and career plans when it tripped and fell over "My business cards never came. What do I do?"
Newly hired, my friend had been assured that the cards would arrive before it was time to leave for this trip. They didn't. Thursday was chock full of back-to-back appointments from 8:15 AM - 3PM and not enough time for even my favorite local printers to churn out a set of these ubiquitous pieces of colorful pasteboard.
I quickly shared my top three tips for moments like this:
- Business cards aren’t needed to network! Not having a card can actually be a good thing. If you give away your card, you are dependent on the person who has it to initiate contact. Asking for a business card is a compliment to the person you are requesting it from as well as gives you the necessary contact details to follow up.
- Technology has your back. Although you don’t have cards in hand, you probably have a cell phone nearby. Send a quick text with your name and email as well as a brief comment that will tickle the recipient’s memory about how and where you met.
- Don’t apologize! You didn’t do anything wrong (at least not in this example). It’s awesome to have cards, but not having one is not the end of the world. If you apologize, especially if it’s the first time you meet, others may doubt your abilities and skills. Lead with grace and say "Thank You!" instead. Expressing your appreciation for their understanding creates a sense of positivity, and that’s an awesome way to start any relationship.
A couple other tips
- if you have marketing material, point out where general or specific contact details can be found
- Follow up! You may have made an awesome first impression, but without a way to contact you, your new business relationship might wither on the vine
- If possible, see what happened to the cards, assess the chances of it happening again, and take steps to make sure this doesn’t happen next time.
If you’re wondering how it went, today was great, the cards were never missed!