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How I Gave Away 1,000 Business Cards & Still Failed at Networking

Written by Tessa Kampen

networking tips

When I started networking, I was the best card dealer you have ever seen. If I came home with empty pockets, I thought I was a Rockstar because that meant I gave out 20 cards!

I don’t know about you, but for me that is what I assumed networking was – getting my business card into as many hands as possible. I want to show you why I was SO wrong and the 3 key things I learned about effective networking and how to win every time!


It’s Not About You

You know when you meet someone at an event and you introduce yourself and ask them what they do… and immediately they pull out their card and tell you all about the company they work for and how amazing it is? That was me. Another big no-no is going around to all the tables and slapping your postcards on all the place settings. Don’t do that!

When you attend an event, go with the sole purpose of serving other people. Instead of thinking to yourself “what are you going to do for me”, think instead about what YOU can do for THEM! Try this out at your next event – start up a conversation with someone about who THEY are and try to find a common ground. Ask them if they ever attended this event before, where do they live, compliment their outfit or earrings. Then ask them what they do and be genuinely interested in what they have to say. Make it about them, not you. 


Ask Them For Their Card

This isn’t a game called ‘the one with the most business cards collected by the night wins’. If you are having a conversation with someone and you are truly interested in what they do, ask them for their card! But please don’t take yours out at the same time and do an exchange like you’re meeting a new pen pal. Asking someone for their card does NOT automatically mean you get to do the same. Wait for them to ask you for yours.

Thank them for their card and if you are done chatting, move on to meet someone new.


Deepen the Relationship

If there is one thing people mess up the most when it comes to networking, it’s the follow up. I want you to replace the word Networking with RELATIONSHIP BUILDING because that is exactly what you are doing when you network. You are building a relationship. So be sure to follow up with those you met and thank them for taking the time to chat with you. Thank them for sharing their funny story or something that really resonated with you about your conversation, but please do not sell them anything. If you just met the man of your dreams and you went in for the proposal, do you think he would turn around and run? It’s the same with going in for the ASK right after meeting someone.


It takes time to build a relationship, and networking should be thought of in the same way. If you have been a card dealer like me up until now, I promise if you follow these 3 rules, your relationships will grow and so will your business.

If you want to try them out, join us anytime for an event and test them out on us!

Tessa Kampen of Mompreneurs Guelph, Kitchener and WaterlooTessa Kampen is the Licensed Owner of Mompreneurs® Guelph & KW, and Board Member for Mompreneurs® Momentum Enterprise of Canada,  Tessa is a wife and a mother of 2, and worked as a Dental Assistant for 10 years before claiming the title of ‘mompreneur’. She believes that we are all born leaders and we all have the potential to achieve greatness with the right support and tools.

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