Business Cards Piling Up? Dump 'em

I have a business card scanner…saw it years ago and just had to have it (CardScan)! It’s probably about 90% accurate reading the text on the card and turning it into a contact so I can’t complain. The problem is that after that first wave of cards was scanned, I don’t use the scanner anymore.

Here’s why:

  1. I don’t blindly collect business cards when I’m out “networking.” If someone thrusts a card in my hand, I’ll take it to be courteous (although they weren’t). But when I get to my office (or when I pass a trash can) and know I have no connection with the person and have no intention of contacting them, I trash the card immediately (especially if it’s printed on cheap paper with a perforated edge and no rhyme or reason to the design).Most of the cards piled up around you amount to keeping junk, clutter, a mess. Businesses have failed, people have changed jobs, etc. Why keep junk?
  2. When I’m out and get a card I want to keep, I’ll write something about the person on it so I’ll remember. Then I add them to Outlook Contacts manually. I add a Category and I add my notes in the text area. I do this immediately so they won’t pile up. Then I trash the card.
  3. Most of the addresses I add to Outlook come from within an email message or on a Webpage. I have some great software that allows me to select text, press a hotkey (for me F9), and populate fields in Outlook automatically. It’s magical! If you can’t download software at work, do it at home. Copy 2 Contact today! It’s inexpensive and worth every penny.
  4. When someone indicates they want to stay in touch with me (and the feeling is mutual), I’ll email them my vCard from Outlook.

If you work in a group environment, the scanner would help because you can set it up on one machine and take turns using it. Or check into a network version. Otherwise, think twice before you buy.

One thought on “Business Cards Piling Up? Dump 'em

  1. Excellent points! When I work with clients who have a stack of old business cards, they conclude that many of them should have been collected in the first place, which supports your argument to be selective. Also, I think the lack of a personal management system means that, for many people, the process of simply staying on top and entering the information is a leaky one.

    Enjoying the blog!

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