Second business card

January 27, 2007

I mentioned in a previous post that sharing your “50 words” with other people on the back of your business card might give you the opportunity to connect with them on another level. (I first saw the 50 word concept on the online business network Ecademy)

This is also something I tell in my networking training courses. But especially when it’s a training course for a large company (but also in open courses) participants respond that this is a very nice idea, but that this won’t work for them. The reason is that there are very strict rules regarding company image.

If you are in that situation, you might consider having a second business card that only mentions your 50 words (or whatever you want to share with people).
And this doesn’t have to cost you any money. The website www.vistaprint.com offers free business cards !

“What’s the catch?” you might ask. “Nothing is for free in this world”. And you are right. On the back of the free business cards you find the text “For free business cards go to www.Vistaprint.com” So don’t use this as your official and only business card. This is not good for your image. For a small extra fee you can have your own text on the back of the card.

Another reason for Vistaprint to do this is to get more visibility for their company and their other products that you have to pay for (which is in my opinion a nice idea, think about how you can do something similar for your organisation).

So don’t use a free business card as your official business card, but for your 50 words such a free business card is a nice solution !

To your networking success !

Jan


Don’t use lanyards at your events

January 20, 2007

It is the time of the year for business receptions and other functions.

If you organise one yourself, please refrain from going with the trend to use lanyards for the name tags of the participants.
(Lanyards are the long cords that people first used to hang around their neck with their keys attached to it)

Why?

These are the reasons:

1) The name tag hangs around people’s belly button (or lower!). This makes it hard to read because it is further away from our eyes.
2) Some people are also embarrassed to look at another person’s belly or lower parts of the body. So they don’t look. This handicaps many people who need to read the name in order to remember it better.
3) Older people might be resistant to wear them especially when they come in flashy or fluo colours.
4) Murphy’s Law number 342: “the name tag will always turn with the name towards your belly“. So people can’t read your name and you can’t read the other person’s name. (So what’s the use of using those things anyway? ;-))

So please use “old-fashioned” name tags instead of the lanyards. And don’t overdo it. I understand that sponsors want some visibility in return for their money. But give them this visibility in other ways than putting their logo in large on the name tags.

My advice is to only mention the name and organisation of the participant on the name tag. So you can make the characters big enough that everybody can read them, even people who need glasses.

The goal still has to be that the name tags makes it easier for people to connect and not the other way around, right?

To your networking success !

Jan


Use Google Alerts to keep yourself up to date

January 13, 2007

Two weeks ago I mentioned that having an on-line profile and links to other websites is a good way to boost your visibility.

So it makes it easier for people to find you (by name) or someone with your expertise.

One of the networking actions you can take to boost this even more and at the same time be of help to your network is to exchange links.
By exchanging links I mean mentioning the website(s) of the people and organisations from your network on your website and asking them to do the same for you.

Another action you can take is write articles on your own website and/or for other websites or share your expertise in a blog like this.

After a while you will notice that people will refer more and more to your websites and the articles and blog posts you wrote.

But how can you keep up with this? How will you know that someone referred to you, your article or your website?

Two of the tools that can help you are provided by Google.

1) The search command “link:www.yourwebsite.com” in the search bar of Google will list the websites that contain a hyperlink to www.yourwebsite.com

2) Google Alerts is a service that notifies you when there is a new occurence of your name, the title of your article or whatever words you want to look for.
You can activate this for yourself via: www.google.com/alerts.

To your success !

Jan


Don’t send Christmas cards

January 6, 2007

Are you surprised by the title of this week’s post?

Many people in my networking training courses are suprised when I tell them that it might be a good idea NOT sending Christmas cards.

“You tell us that it is important to stay in touch with our network and then you say that we should not send Christmas cards. Aren’t Christmas Cards one of the best ways to stay in touch with people?” is one of the most frequently asked responses.

Of course it is important to stay in touch and if you want to do this by sending Christmas cards, that’s fine with me.

BUT … there are a few disadvantages:

1) people receive Christmas cards from many people. So your card is but one out of many and is probably unnoticed.

2) the text on most Christmas cards is limited to “Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!”. So they are not very personal. And this is very understandable because when we send Christmas cards we send it most of the time to a lot of people. Personalising them might consume lot of our time. And for many businesses December is already such a busy month.

The result is that in most cases your card goes unnoticed.

Does this mean you should not send any cards to people?

No, because in these electronic times postcards (or letters) are one of the best ways to keep in touch with people.
But send them on a moment that no one else does this and personalise them.

Examples:
– Thank-you-cards with a sincere, personalised and detailed text
– Birthday cards
– Anniversary cards
– Anniversary of a company cards
– A card for another holiday than Christmas
– A card for the anniversary of your company
– A card on the day of the saint of your profession
– A card for a reason or a special day that you made up
– …

Any reason is good to send a card to keep in touch with your network. But make sure that it doesn’t get by unnoticed.

Have a great networking year !

Jan


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