Networking with Class – Don’t Be A Business Card Bully

Alright! I know we have heard so many how-to’s, do’s and don’ts on networking that I believe we all should be experts at it by now. However, there are still some very important details to be mindful of that can be over looked.

During any networking event it is customary to carry and present your business cards, if for nothing else the standard raffle or give-away prize that most events would have. However, during the actual networking event instead of making a mad dash to quickly collect business cards, take a moment to introduce yourself and your business, then leave room for the person who you’re speaking with to reciprocate his or her information to you.

Once you have established some insight ask for the business card and in turn present yours. Why would you go through speaking to a person to get conversational information prior to asking for the business card up front?

Well, for starters, it is quite unappealing to ask for someone’s business card and you haven’t taken time to find out about them. Most people, who have influence, will not provide their business cards unless it is a possibility to do, or have, a meaningful business connection. So the next time you’re at a popular networking event be a little mindful about the following:

Introduce yourself and business prior to diving in and asking for a business card.

Establish a brief conversation; open up the lines to communications.

If someone asks for your business card without giving any thought to who you are, respond with “why?” This will cause the other person to respond in an engaging conversation or they may just walk away – in which case if the person walks away would you have really wanted them to have your business card?

Send a follow-up email or even better – pick up the phone within 48 hours of meeting the person to say “nice meeting you”. Hint: Sometimes picking up the phone is a nice thing to do.

Rose Hedgemond is CEO of Avenues of Excellence and an etiquette and social protocol professional. Do you have an etiquette or social protocol question? Email her at or follow her on Facebook at Rose Hedgemond and Twitter @AOE_IN.