A couple weeks ago, I embarrassed myself at the post office. I loused up a really basic skill: Handing out a business card. And I have to say; handing out business cards is something I’m pretty good at. Usually. However, that day the point was driven home: No matter how many times I hand out my card and no matter how comfortable I am handing my business card to a complete stranger, I still need to prepare myself each time.
Getting into the Business-Card-Handing-Out Zone
You start with getting physically and mentally ready. It doesn’t take long — five seconds max. And it’s easy. And it makes you more confident (which makes you more “attractive,” which gains you more clients, etc., etc.).
The Card: I know that cards can be pricey. I know it’s cheaper and more convenient to run them off on your printer at home. It’s a common choice. But do you use scratchy sheets on the table? Is your room cold? Of course, not. So, is a prospective client’s first impression of you going to be the perception of scrap paper? Would you prefer to hand out a thousand 2¢ cards and get two clients (whose first impression of you will be a throw-away paper)? Or would you rather hand out a thousand 15¢ cards and get 8-10 clients (who will have the impression that you are a high-class professional)?
You: Shoulders back. Relax your face muscles. “Lighten” your brow — most of us frown when concentrating. Know where your cards are. That’s the most important bit. You don’t want to be rooting through your purse or pocket or wallet saying, “I know I have one somewhere.”
You have about 3 seconds to make an impression — good or bad. This is why you have to be In The Zone. Have your introduction ready. As you compose your intro, you’ll be working on it fairly steadily for a couple weeks. Once you’re happy with what you’re saying and how you say it, rehearse at least once a day. I practice on the way to work or an event. Your introduction should flow out naturally. Mentally rehearse at least your opening sentence before you even open your mouth (I didn’t do that before handing my business card to the lady at the post office). As you get more comfortable you will have an intro speech for several situations. Yes. You will. Really. And you’ll be very pleased with yourself when you get there.
What should you say and how should you say it? That is all about establishing rapport and we’ll cover that next week.