Back In The Day Biz Card #1


Rest in peace, Watkins.

I have always wanted to do a series on the business cards I have collected over the years, but it is with a heavy heart that I make Dave Watkins the first person I profile.  He passed away on Friday, October 28, five days after his 44th birthday.

It’s not that Dave and I were best friends – we hadn’t spoken in a bit, but we stayed in contact via Facebook.  I met him 20 years ago, in 1991.  He was atThe Source and I was at Tommy Boy.  We clicked immediately. When he left and started Da Streets, he hooked me up with gear – those incredibly popular HBCU hoodies.  When I lost my job at Jive in 1996, he let me know about an event he was handling for 100 Black Men, in which they were honoring Oprah Winfrey and they needed ushers.  It was easy cash money and a great place to rub noses with movers and shakers.  That little gig meant a great deal to me, since I was very humbled at that moment, and no one else made a real offer to put money in my pocket.  The biz card above was for Icon Lifestyle Marketing, which became such a success, Crain’s put Watkins in their coveted 40 Under 40 in 2000.

He was good people.  And in this industry, that’s the highest compliment you can give.  When you heard him laugh, you immediately wanted to hear him do that again.

If you would like to see how many people he touched, go to his Facebook page. His funeral service brought everyone out, and it was a reunion that he would have been proud to see.

I know Dave will keep the folks up there busting their stitches and slapping their knees.   Rest in peace to a true networker.

Biz Card Hoarder

my business card wall
What do you do with those business cards you’ve collected over the years?  Do you scan em?  Send them off to CloudContacts? Throw em out?

I put mine in huge binders.  Years worth of contact info.  I still have my very first rolodex from my admin asst days in the music industry (1990).  I refer to them often.  A few years ago, I was looking through my binders trying to find a printer I could invite to my BNI chapter. I came upon a guy’s card who was quite memorable.  I met him in 2004, when I used to belong to Ryze and happened to attend one their networking events.  For some reason, we got to talking about Jersey and its hip-hop stars. It was a great conversation.

So in the spring of 2007, I found his card and sent him an email about being my guest at a BNI meeting. While it was not his primary email, it was forwarded to one that he checked regularly.  In a few hours, we were on the phone catching up.  Now mind you, it was a Tuesday late afternoon and my meetings are Wednesday 7am.  Guess who showed up on Wednesday morning?  And shortly after that, he joined.  And then 3 years later, in one of his last acts as a member, he brought a guest that became a business partner in another venture of mine.

So, don’t throw your old biz cards away. Three to six years later, they can still turn into something.  Not to be cliche, but there is a reason they are called business cards.

No More Battery Pulls

I love my Blackberry, but the one thing that pales in comparison to the others is the hard drive space.   And if you network like me, your contact list is sizable and important.  Try operating your Blackberry with an address book of 4000 contacts.  Multiple battery pulls per day, right?  And yes, I have discussed it before.  It is a pet peeve of mine.

I have also discussed Dub aka  I have a love/hate relationship with them since the summer of 2009.  Dub is a mobile app that sends your digital business card to anyone’s email address.  An extremely useful service if you run out of traditional biz cards or you want people to have access to information that is not on your biz card (or you just wanna go green).  At some point in 2010, whenever I would send my Dub card, it would not get received, it would just disappear into the ether. Customer support tried to help, but on their end everything looked normal.  So I stopped using it.

In mid-January, I received an email about new features and updates.  So I checked it out.  Big improvement.  Like Gist, Dub can take all of your email and social media contacts and spit it out as one comprehensive address book.  At the site, you can print it out as a spreadsheet.  On Blackberry, the app lets you access all of your contacts with extreme quickness.  I have almost 7K contacts on Dub, and searching through the list takes little time.  Another plus: I went to the website to see if a Dub card I sent a few days ago reached its intended audience.  It hadn’t, but it saved the email address.  When this was happening to me before,  the email address would not save.  This is a big change. And now Dub also offers the opportunity to resend the card.

Bottomline, if you want to have your entire contact list on your Blackberry, without crashing your phone, load the free app called Dub. Think about that.  No more waiting to get back to your office to find a number or email address.  Or no more printing out a contact list to stuff in your pocket or briefcase. Or no more battery pulling because searching for a phone number froze your Curve (especially when you’re on deadline to reach that particular person).

Serious networkers and folks with large contact lists need to load Dub.

It’s also available on iPhone/iPod (for those that like to play with toys).

Keep networking.

The Ten Commitments

Moses photo credit: rycordell

Not too long ago, I had the pleasure of  sitting down with Bruce Libman.  He is quite a networker and runs Clients For Life.  On the back of his business card are “The Ten Commitments.”   Not a bad list to obey, if you want step your networking game up.

1. Arrive early to events

2. Develop your elevator speech

3. Never sit with people you know or work with

4. Seek information and move on

5. Business cards are your billboards, so choose them carefully

6. Immediately act upon referrals

7. Immediately thank people for referrals

8. Be a Giver first

9. Choose your networking events carefully, look for opportunity to meet new people

10. Remember business is based on relationships and networking is a “contact sport”

At this meeting, he opened his rolodex up and introduced me to a few good folks.  Bruce definitely understands the concept of being a Giver.

Five Tools Of The Networking Trade

photo credit: jwcline

Two thousand nine is here and you promised to hit more networking events.  So before you walk out the door, make sure you have all the bows in your networking quiver.  Or you will quiver once you get in the room.  Here are five essentials.

1. Business cards:  Obvious one, right?  Sometimes you grab a bunch, but that bunch is not big enough.  Grab a lot.  I have a pretty big biz card holder.  It’s fatter than a wallet, so  I never run out, but if I did, I wouldn’t fret because I also use Dropcard.

The premise is simple.  Someone gives you their business card.  You panic slightly as you grope your empty card holder.  Oh, wait a minute!  I have Dropcard (cue superhero music).  You grab your cellphone (who forgets to bring those nowadays?) and text “drop” to 41411.  That person will receive an instant email of your Dropcard.   I use the free version, but if you want to add logo and attachments, there is a premium charge.

Dropcard :: Preview My Dropcard via kwout

2. Elevator Speech:  A condensed version of what you do.  Some folks say 15 seconds, some say 60 ticks is the way to go.  I say break it down into 2 or 3 mini speeches.  Give em your intro and watch the body language.  If it’s good, drop the second piece and gauge the temperature again and drop the rest at your own risk.  If you have a smile and a pulse, they won’t fall asleep during your spiel.  Make sure that you use language that everyone can understand.  You have no idea how many people do not know what a publicist does.  (Insert own joke, here).

3.  Tuned up memory:  That means that before you left the house, you scanned your rolodex and recent emails.  and maybe you took notes from yesterday’s networking meeting.  A true networker, first and foremost, is looking to connect their brand new friends with their old friends.  In conversation, your new friend says something that makes you think of  Joe.  “It’s funny you mentioned that, I have a buddy who was looking to hire someone to do that for him, I will put you two in touch.”  You have to have your friends in the front of your mind, so that you can make this lasting impression with your new (best) acquaintance.  The last thing you want to do is start the conversation off with “how can you help me get business right now at this moment.”  That’s called Notworking.

4.  Mental timer:  You should not stay engrossed in a conversation too long.  There are more people to meet.  And you don’t know who knows who (that’s networking speak for “don’t judge a book by it’s cover”).  Keep track of how many folks are in the room and what time the event is over, so that you can mingle and meet as many networkers as possible.  Keep a soft count in your head and a good excuse to jump away from the convo.  At a good pause, drop the line, “Let me get your info, so that we can keep in touch.  The gentleman over there is leaving and a colleague wanted to make sure that we said hello to each other.”  Or use the bathroom line.  Or the food table excuse.  Just don’t look rushed and too eager to leave the conversation.

5.  Gum or mints.  No explanation necessary.