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