Six Ways to Exchange Details When Your Business Cards Run Out



Imagine this:  You are at a conference. You finally get the courage to say hello to the person you specifically came to the conference just to meet. You reach into your pocket where you keep your business cards and there are no cards. You are out; you gave the last one away just moments ago. Now what?

I’ve been there many times. So what do you do? Panic? No.

Kerwin-McKenzieWell, here are six things you can do to keep in touch with that person (after apologizing that you ran out of cards) the next time this happens to you:

1.  Ask for their card. This is the easiest way out, but what if they’ve run out as well or don’t want to give you their card. Yes, it happens, the fact that you want to give someone your card, does not always mean they want to give you theirs. You can usually tell this is the case, by how much fumbling goes on to try to find the card or how uncomfortable the whole transaction is. If they’ve also run out as well, read on.

2.  Add their details to the Notepad application in your phone. Also, very easy, plus you can write notes about them at the same time.

3.  Send them an email using your phone. Ask for their email address and send them an email from your phone. You can also take a photo with them and attach it. People love to see photos of themselves, so the propensity to open that email is higher. Make the photo memorable.

4.  Follow them on social media. If they have any kind of presence on social media, this is a great way to quickly keep in touch with them. The particular social media will send them a notification. Try to get them to do the same or respond to your follow request right there and then when your username is fresh in their minds. Don’t be pushy. Usually if they are active on social media, they will reciprocate. You don’t have to do all social media touch points, just one is enough as typically once you find them in one location you can use that one to find the rest.

5.  Add their details to your phone’s contact list. If you have a smart phone, there is a contact application built in. Just add their details there. Then send them a text or call them depending on if you are both local or not. If they allow it, take a photo and add it to the contact file. They may be in a rush though, so be prepared for them saying I have to go, how about we link up later. If you don’t have a smart phone, read on.

6.  Find a pen and a piece of paper. A good rule is to always carry a small notepad and a writing instrument with you to every conference. You never know when your electronic devices will run out of battery. Go old school and write the details down. You could hand one piece of paper and a pen to the other person and while they write down their details you do the same.

What are some ways you’ve handled this situation in the past? Please leave a comment below as I’d love to hear from you.

TBEX NOTE:  Kerwin will be speaking about How to Network without Being Annoying at TBEX Athens. You’ll learn more practical tips from this master networker in his session. Register today.

Kerwin McKenzie is a Travelpreneur who creates travel-related solutions for travelers. He also runs a service at specifically to help Travel Bloggers get started.



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July 12, 2014 2:18 am

Love suggestion #3, that way they remember you as well instead of trying to remember the face that went with the business card.

Reply to  Laurel
July 14, 2014 10:10 am

Thanks Laurel, you’re right!

Michael / South Bay Foodies
Michael / South Bay Foodies
July 22, 2014 11:56 pm

Its another device but I also carry a mini-recorder with me to conferences and events. The batteries last forever and I like having it as a dedicated note taker instead of fidling with my do-anything-and-everything smart phone. When I’ve run out of cards, I “interview” the person by getting them to say their name and contact info into the recorder. When I get back to my laptop, I download the audio and send an email with contact info right away.

Anne Perdow
Anne Perdow
August 5, 2014 8:33 am

I remember going to a business function recently and I forgot my business cards because I changed my handbag. I met a great business contact and we connected on social media by using our phones right on-the-spot. This could be the new way to connect. I also like the recorder idea above.

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