Gayle Hallgren-Rezac co-author Work The Pond!
Rifling through stacks of business cards to find the one you want is a time waster, if ever there was one. Besides, Murphy’s Law dictates that the business card you want is always at the bottom of the last stack you look through. Here are four simple ideas that will change what you do with the business cards you receive.
Invest in a card scanning device. These handy little devices scan most business cards, and the best scanners work with other commonly used programs such as Microsoft Outlook, GoldMine, Act! and Lotus Notes so you can merge this data seamlessly. The leading card scanning device is CardScan .
Get organized. Don’t have a card scanner? Then organize cards in a way that you can reference at a later date. Put all the cards you received from an event in an envelope, with name, place, date of event. Put the names of the three key people you met on the front of the envelope as well. Plan to follow up with these folks.
An option for techno-challenged: Use binders with clear sheets specifically designed to hold business cards. Organize cards by date and event because you are likely to remember the event you met at, than the person’s name.
Keep every card. Many people mistakenly keep only the cards they think are important and throw out the rest. Sociologist Mark Granovetter’s now-famous research paper The Strength of Weak Ties proved that all our contacts, even our mere acquaintances, are important. Most networking gurus will tell you that it is your close circle of contacts who are the most important. Wrong! Although it seems counter-intuitive, your weak ties are often more important. Don’t throw out any business cards and treat all your contacts like gold. Remember, one person’s frog is another person’s prince.
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