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House of Cards

Julia Charles-Wiginton, MD, Julia Charles Event Management, calls time on printed business cards

I enjoy networking events, but I can’t stand the whole concept of exchanging business cards; it is such an outdated method just to get someone’s contact information. Stats from CreditDonkey (and a whole load of other websites) state that 88% of all business cards received are thrown away within a week. That’s a lot of time, energy, effort, and of course paper being used for only a brief amount of time.

A recent question put to the Delegate Wranglers group found that when most eventprofs receive a business card they input the info into a CRM system, and/or find the person on LinkedIn and then the card is made redundant and thrown away. Of course, I’m sure that most people do recycle them, but wouldn’t it be better if we didn’t use them in the first place?

I recently attended an event in the Middle East and trialled Klik. It’s a technology that has only been available for two years, but it has the potential to change the way we exchange contacts. It’s based around an event app with the usual event app features, but delegates wear a tech-enabled lanyard which is used to exchange contact details with the person you have just met. Both people have to press and wait for a green light in order to share the information, so you can’t just cruise an event and pick up everyone’s data without their permission.

The information exchanged is deposited in the app and is then waiting for you in your contacts. It’s very easy to then add to your desktop or phone contacts. Even three weeks after the event, I’m exchanging contact details with other attendees and speakers via the app who I just didn’t get a chance to meet in person, so this technology offers another bonus of allowing the networking to continue long after the event is over.

Another benefit is that the information is exchanged electronically, so the boring but necessary task of inputting contact details into a device is done for you. You can also add a note about what you need to discuss with the contact and add it to your calendar too. This speeds up the process and makes it much easier and therefore more likely that you will actually do the action that you intended to do.

Business cards have been around since the 17th Century so isn’t it about time we all moved to a method that isn’t only more effective, it’s more sustainable too?