Are you a Pez Dispenser? I hope not! I am sure you have met the Networking Pez Dispenser, haven’t you? This is the business networker that just doesn’t get it! They meet you and within 3 seconds they have their card in their hand ready to give it to you. But wait… I don’t want it!!! I am not interested in your card! I am interested in you! Furthermore, I want you to be interested in me! Nothing more! A business card is a tool to exchange contact information for people that may want to contact another person. If you don’t know that I want to contact you, or that I may want to, then why would you give me your card?
When this happens to me, I resist accepting the card as much as possible. If I do end up accepting the card, I put it in my pez pocket, reserved just for those cards that will be discarded when I leave the networking event. So essentially, by giving my your card in this manner, you just threw it away yourself.
On occasion, the Pez Networker will ask me for my card, almost immediately, to which I will response “what are you going to do with my card?” This usually puts them on the spot and we can have a quick conversation about what NOT to do with my card. I am very clear that I don’t have an interest in getting a sales call from them regarding their services. Many times this discussion results in my card not ending up in their hands, which is perfect for me.
Many financial reps, insurance reps, and multi-level networkers fall into the Pez Networker classification; however, there are a few exceptions to that rule. I have found some great networkers in those industries that could teach their compadres a thing or two (or three or four or five) how to network correctly.
Bottom line, don’t be a Pez Dispenser and spend some time learning about me before giving me your card – in fact, you should wait for me to ask for your card before offering it at all.