OTC networking tip: Managing all those business cards

Are you one of those folks who collects a stack of business cards at a conference or trade show and has no idea who they are once you get back to the office? Vow to change your ways at this year’s Offshore Technology Conference. 

You’re going to meet a lot of people and if you’re lucky, some of those contacts will lead to a deal or job down the line.

The key to networking isn’t just knowing how to meet and greet. It’s also knowing how to manage the information you collect so you can use it later.

Take notes on everyone you meet, recommends Jamie Belinne, assistant dean of career services for the C.T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston. You can use the back of a business card to trigger a memory or use your smart phone.

Taking notes makes it much easier to personalize your follow-up notes, said Belinne.

Having key details of where and when you met and what you talked about can help restart the conversation once the hub-hub of the convention is a distant memory.

In my note taking system on the back of business cards, I like to include personal details such as where someone grew up or their family ties to Houston. No detail is too small I figure when I’m circling back to build a relationship.

Another reason to have those details is that when you get back to the office and you send a LinkedIn request, you can make a more personal request, said Belinne. When you make it personal, the other person is much more likely to accept the invitation.

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