More information on personal networking can be found in ‘Networking Tactics: a guide to achieving success through personal networking ’ and ‘ABCs of Effective Networking: fifty-two ways to achieve success’. Brenda Eckstein is the author of these books and presents training programmes, workshops and talks on personal networking.
Personal networking is a process and not a transaction. It involves making contacts and building relationships. Quality conversation is an important part of this process.
Business cards are an excellent source of conversation. Often, when given a card, the recipient hardly looks at the card before putting it in his (or her) pocket. In doing this, the person has lost an opportunity to engage in quality conversation which could lead to the building of positive relationships.
This is how you use the card as a conversation tool:
- Look at how the person’s name is spelled and you can comment on that. Seeing the name written will help you remember the person’s name.
- The business or company name could lead to an interesting conversation on the business and the way it operates.
- The job title will help you to show interest in what the person does, and also makes it easier to see how this person could fit into your network.
- The address tells you where the business is situated and can be another ‘hook’ on which to build conversation.
- The logo has special significance. Ask questions.
- Consider how the colours used link to the corporate or business identity. This provides more information and that is interesting, too.
In addition, showing interest in their business cards impresses people and helps you to remember them.
Next time someone hands you a business card, immediately study it carefully and use aspects of the information to enrich your conversation. Comment on the details and ask ‘open’ questions.