Business cards are a quaint reminder of how networking used to work. We’d do the meet and greet, exchange cards in hopes they will end up in the ‘special’ Rolodex, and then repeat. And repeat again. Any good salesman will tell you that this kind of approach is mostly a numbers game, so why not eliminate what you can in order to save the time and hassle of carrying around little pieces of paper with your names on them?
Don’t get me wrong, business cards are great as both a contact and branding tool. They give us a certain cachet, they often look really cool and they’ve long been standardized: making them affordable for nearly everyone in need of one. But we think that, especially at events, it can be done better.
Name badges with QR codes
We use a system that ties the QR code on your name badge with the information used during sign up or registration. This typically consists of name, company and email address, and can be edited via our registration app online. If you’d like to share social media or mailing address info, that’s as easy as adding another field.
QR code reader app on smartphones
At most of our events, our vendors can download a special smartphone app (which must be authorized through our software) that can scan badge QR codes and push that information into the database. Each vendor can add notes at the time they enter your contact information.
This is the key step: each request for contact information MUST be approved by the person who owns it. We know it would feel rude to deny an interested vendor a name badge scan, so this step makes it easy for people to allow that while not authorizing the data exchange. Each person will receive a notification that links them to a list of requests to be approved. Pick what you want, ignore the rest. The vendors will then receive your contact information and be able to get in touch with you.
We know nearly everyone, especially conference attendees, carry smartphones, so why not save them extra space in their wallet with digital information exchange?
Rolodexes have always been a pain. Welcome to something easier.