One of the first things you learn when you started working in business, is that networking matters. It’s a quintessential aspect of growing personally and as a company. It is an inevitable part of doing business and is always beneficial, so it goes without saying that it would only benefit you to be experienced at networking.
The idea of networking comes with some weight and seems like a rather daunting task to most, but creating these professional connections gets easier with practice and such exchanges grow much more seamless with time. Soon enough networking becomes much less intimidating and more second nature.
Simply putting yourself out there and meeting new people is a great first step but for anyone looking to hone their skills and improve their networking abilities, here are some tips to make the daunting task not so daunting.
Strategize…but be inclusive
Essentially networking is building a relationship with a goal in sight. In the case that you are at an event specifically for networking such as a networking event, then great, that means you have time to prepare.
Firstly, organize your thoughts and prepare in whatever way you can and see fit. This means know how to present yourself in a concise meaningful manner that tells someone what you do and how you may potentially help each other. Secondly figure out a game plan in regard to who you will talk to. This means learn who will be there and prioritize. If there will be a particular person who it would be beneficial to talk to, make sure to place them on top of your list of people to ensure that you get the chance and time to actually connect.
Although it’s important to speak to people who you find could potentially be a good contact, it’s also important to never turn down opportunities to connect. As long as the interactions are genuine no connection is a bad one, so never close out an opportunity because they don’t interest you at the moment.
Always be prepared
Networking opportunities can happen anytime and anywhere. You never know when you might meet someone who you’d like to exchange information with. So always be prepared, keep your goal in mind, and act on the opportunity to potentially work with someone or build a professional relationship. What goes along with being prepared, is making sure to know what questions to ask to see how you could help someone or work with them in the future. Keep a set of concise questions at hand, that get to the root of what someone does and help you figure out how you can help each other.
The role print plays in all of this
Believe it or not, in a world where we are seemingly constantly moving toward complete digitization, a crucial part of networking is still print materials. These past couple years Printed materials have started becoming seemingly more and more antiquated. Despite this, it’s still very important and potentially very beneficial if used properly.
Which is exactly why here at printleaf we stand by our belief that print is most definitely not dead and we continue to strive to help people see new ways to use it that will benefit them. If you don’t quite believe us yet checkout this article we found pretty interesting.
There are many uses for print marketing but in regard to networking, business cards are a very useful tool. If designed and used properly they can speak volumes about the owner.
Business cards play a unique role in today’s digital age. Although similar information can now be found online, the business card will always be of use, primarily because it’s a simple way of putting all your contact information in one place that is easily accessible at all times. Beyond that it’s a simple, quick, and professional way for you to communicate who you are and what you do.
Why use business cards instead of getting contact information on your phone or connecting on social media? Simply because networking is about making meaningful connections, and technology can seem impersonal. Meeting someone and immediately looking down at your phone, frantically trying to pull up an app is not the right message you want to give. The best way to make a lasting connection with someone is showing genuine interest and being present.
This means putting the phone away and making the conversation the focus. Handing them a business card does the job of giving them contact information, a way to better remember your meeting, and also allows you to focus on making this connection.
What to include in your business card and how to make it stand out
Be deliberate about the information you choose to put on your business card.
There is not a lot of room on a business card and as a result the more you put on it the more it looks cluttered, disorganized, and hard to read. This essentially defeats the purpose, which is to offer a quick way of accessing only the important information to contact you, the more stuff the harder it is to find that information. What you choose to include on your business card would also largely depend on how much freedom your company grants you. In larger companies there is often times a standard format that people follow. For those who have full autonomy in deciding how to decide yours the relevant information and layout will greatly depend on the industry you work in. For example a photographer is not going to have the same design and format as an accountant and vice versa. So figure out what information is more critical for your field and only include what’s necessary.
Keep it simple but be yourself
People get hundreds of business cards and it’s easy to get lost in the shuffle of things. Most people, recognizing this, will immediately react by trying to make their business card different whether that be some bizarre shape to their card or an intricate design.
Unfortunately both of these ways will either make the card look too cluttered and busy if done improperly, or frustrate the person who has it and wind up in the trash because it didn’t fit in their wallet. The point of a business card is a quick point of reference that’s easily accessible, so stick to the standard size and don’t make it so crazy that again no one could read it.
Use solid colors and try to keep the back minimal so that others could write or take notes. It’s also just as noteworthy to still allow some of yourself to come through in your business card. Showing personality is what will get you noticed in the long run, so make sure you put thought into ways to customize your business card that will send a clear message of who you are as a professional and a person while not over cluttering it. Some examples of how to do that would be by getting custom raised ink business cards, the raised ink will make the lettering and design on your card pop. Or try letterpress business cards, the sunken lettering will give the same effect with a slightly different style. Either option will allow your personality to shine through in a unique but simple way.
You could find basic business cards anywhere but these are also standard quality and most of the time sub par. Spending a little more on nicer paper and a nicer print can make all the difference, especially when every detail on your card contributes to the overall look and message your business card sends. A sturdier paper will give a nicer feel to your business card and will help to convey a message of professionalism.
These details will also help differentiate you from a lot of other people who use standard business cards. After networking events people often leave with a pretty hefty stack of business cards. There is no quicker way of standing out than by having high quality paper stock, the weight alone will stand out in the persons hands, and the quality will set you apart by comparison. You could also try a material other than paper by getting custom plastic business cards, which will feel sleeker and stand out compared to standard paper.
Also don’t be so quick to discount the option of getting professional help. No one knows what works better than people who do it every day, so ask a professional for a consultation or an opinion on something you already have drawn up, it will be worth it in the long run and most likely will save you time.
This is especially important if you don’t know where to begin, they can often times help you create a graphic or logo that would look best for what you do and what you want to convey.
In the end be yourself and allow that to shine through in everything you do and people will want to do work with you and your business.
Make sure to checkout Printleaf.com we offer a wide range of business cards to choose or give us a call with inquiries in regard to design services.
Last modified: January 31, 2020