Count Your Cards

Well, that was a little embarrassing.

This past Thursday and Friday I was at an event with a lot of networking potential. No, that wasn’t the embarrassing part. I chatted with a lot of people. No, still not embarrassing. After a short chat, almost all of them said something that made me want to crawl away and hide.

“Could I have your business card?”

Yes, I, the networking “expert” didn’t have my business cards handy. I know, I know. I can hear you asking out loud, “How could that be, Greg? Didn’t you set out your networking toolkit the night before? Aren’t you the paragon of networking preparedness?”

Very funny. First, I will remind you that I am far from perfect. Yes, I do try to be ready the night before. In this case, though, it wasn’t a matter of making sure my card holder was prepared. The problem was I had completely run out of business cards. The box was empty and I hadn’t ordered any new ones from my good friend Kelly Parkinson over at Allegra Print and Imaging.

So, there I was at a great event with all of these successful people. They were interested enough in what I was doing to want to know more. Yet, when they asked for my card — sort of the base line of networking activity — I couldn’t oblige them.

You could almost hear my credibility leaking away.

I still did connect with many people there, because giving out my card isn’t nearly as important as following up on theirs. Still, with all these folks, I’m starting out a little behind. Many of them probably question whether I walk my talk.

So, the moral of this story is: On a regular basis — quarterly or even annually should be sufficient — count your stored business cards. If you are getting at all low, order them now!

Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a reputation to rebuild.

Photo by Greg Peters


About Greg Peters

Greg Peters, president and founder of The Reluctant Networker, LLC, is a business networking specialist. He works with trade associations on both the local and national level to create a culture of better connections and greater opportunity. Find out more at or


  1. Funny! I think everyone has done that.

    • Thanks, "Unknown". Probably they have and I can only hope that my example shows them that they might just live through the embarrassment.

      I think my new box is scheduled to come in tomorrow!

  2. I know the feeling, Peter, and it isn't pretty. What I have learned that when I travel, I need to have a bundle of cards stuffed in my suitcase, just in case.

    Last week I checked my supply of contact cards and noticed that I am getting low–so smiled when I read your honest post.

    • Thanks, Kathy. Fortunately, I know that one (or even ten) failed connections doesn't destroy a network. I just have to pick myself up, dust myself off, and jump back into the fray.

      I just hope you learn from my example and get that new box of cards ordered now, not later. 😉

  3. Case in point. Have a card to give or someone will call you Peter. LOL

  4. Seriously, though, I also have not yet ordered my next batch and have few left. On the other hand, I have come to learn that it is more important to get the card of who I want to follow up with, because then it makes even more sense to email them with my contact details.

    • Hi, Merri. In general I agree with you. Still, business cards are important for a variety of reasons and the very first one I tend to list is "Credibility". It's not so much that I hand out my card, but rather that I have a card to hand out so I don't look like a complete newbie.

      Take care!

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