Business Cards Carry Memories

There are two camps these days. Business cards or no business cards. Some people would rather just pull out their phone and add you on LinkedIn right away.

When looking at my first 900 LinkedIn contacts I could tell you exactly how I met all but about 20 of the people. Do you know why? Because I actually met them! Real and in person… And was handed their business card on which I wrote how/where I met them. Sometimes I even wrote a further note about our conversation or interaction.

Writing that down, seeing the logo, seeing their name? It all helps our brains process the experience — here’s some research on that. And, yes, I said experience. For me, meeting people face-to-face is an experience.

Business Cards Tell Stories

In going through what appears to be one of the many Covid rituals of cleaning out a closet, I found a bag of treasures. These treasures don’t all tell complete stories, but many of them do.

Let me tell you about Linda.

Meet My Friend Linda

Myself (left) & Beautiful Soul, Linda

When I met Linda I was working in sales for AV Concepts, and I had the opportunity to attend the PCMA Leadership Conference in Austin, TX. I reached out to her in advance of the event, and she agreed to meet me for a drink… We became instant friends. We both had “business to do” for our respective jobs (she on her association’s planning team with AASA), which may or may not have resulted in business, but it didn’t matter. I saw her in person a few times after that — one of which was when she and her (and now my) friend Kim stayed in my home on a mini vacation in San Diego.

Linda’s life was then cut way too short, suddenly — before she had even turned 30. She would have had a birthday today, and yet she’s been gone for nine years. Unreal. Finding her business card in this bag took me back to that night in Austin – what a gift!

Business Cards

Linda and Kim

Put the Social in Social Media

Let me be clear – I am a marketer! This isn’t to say there’s no value in going ahead and connecting with people on LinkedIn, but I typically don’t have a story with these people who reach out to me out of the blue.

I admit to having a bevy of people who are in what I call “purgatory” because they didn’t give me a valid business reason to connect.

It boils down to this: I’m not “collecting” people. I am collecting stories. I am collecting valuable relationships that might help me in my business pursuits, but I’m hoping they’ll also help me as a human, and add value to my life… and me theirs.

Human Connections Matter

Remember that – we’re all humans, not just business people. 

I look forward to the day when I get to meet new people again in person (post-Covid19). And I look forward to receiving their business cards, and creating more stories. Developing more new connections, and nurturing the ones I already have, are things I yearn for.

Business Cards

Original Treasures From Now Friends & Collaborators, Elizabeth and Tamela

This experience of receiving a business card is more than a transaction. This experience could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. It might even be one that ends way way way sooner than it should. But still so valuable nonetheless. 

It could be the beginning of a rich AND profitable collaboration. 

As I leave an event with a pocketful of business cards, I’m leaving with a pocket FULL of stories. These stories might be brief or they might continue for years… But they will always leave an impression.

Business cards are more than a little piece of paper. They have a story to tell. 

What do you think? Do you still give and get business cards? What stories do they tell YOU?

Goal-Setting & Forward-Looking = KEYS to Success

Are you a goal setter? Of course, closing one year and embarking on another is always a time to reflect and goal set (notice it’s “goals” and not resolutions?). Here I’m putting a focus on five KEY things that will make professionals (those in events and beyond) more productive in the new year.

Sometimes we can also use a little boost to get our goal-setting kicked into gear.

5 Steps to Productivity

1) Keep self-care at the top of your list of priorities.

One of the reasons event professionals tend to be so stressed is because we’re traveling so much. Being a road warrior takes its toll, so it’s important we remember to make our own self-care a priority! Eating well while traveling can really be difficult, but here’s an article for busy event professionals that will help you make some better choices. Using your hotel’s gym seems impossible, but setting an achievable goal of getting in there for just 20-30 minutes every other day (of course, daily if you can!) will make a huge difference in how you feel (and sleep). These things are a bit easier when we’re home, but keeping them in mind on a regular basis will help make this self-care a HABIT.

2) Make at least one new professional contact per week.

We all receive regular LinkedIn invites from people we may or may not know. But are you a passive networker? What if you took the time to explore LinkedIn — and maybe even Twitter (#EventProfs) — in search of professionals you could be connected to? It will make you literally more connected within our community, and will also expand the resources available to you on both the planner and supplier sides of the business. We can learn from both sides, and having contacts provides us with resources when we need them! When I plan events finding vendors whom I can trust is a challenge. Having planner friends who can refer vendors to me is important, but it’s also important to keep a running list for when those opportunities present themselves (currently wishing I had kept my rental company contacts from “back when” as I wrote this).

3) Have your organization’s end-goals in mind, but also focus on your own personal professional goals.

When we work for a corporation or association it’s normal to focus on what the organization’s goals are, in addition to the goals that might have been set for us in our annual reviews. The best advice I’ve received is from friends who are life or business coaches, or have had their own business for a while: it’s key to also focus on our own personal goals. What is the average lifespan of a job these days? Fewer than five-years, depending on your age, is typical. That means your own personal professional goals should stay just as important to you as your organizations. We’ve all reached that point professionally when we’re ready to move on, but then we feel stuck… setting goals and priorities for yourself can help keep you focused and prepared for when it’s time for a change. It turns out having a “sense of purpose” also leads to getting better sleep, so this could help you there also.

4) Read at least one industry article per week that will enhance the work you’re doing.

We see the “top influencer” lists, “top 40 under 40,” etc. that come out each year. What these folks have in common is this: they share great content. Some of them are also writing/contributing great content with the industry, but mostly they are sharing the awesome articles that have been written by other individuals or organizations (each other in many cases). Unique spins on information we already read about is hard to find, but it’s out there! Taking the time to read about what’s happening in our industry will help keep your focus forward. There’s so much great content out there that can help us in our jobs, and it also helps us as individuals to focus on what’s important.

5) Use a project management tool to increase collaboration and efficiency in your planning.

Are you using anything that helps you and your team focus on what tasks need to be done in planning your meetings and events? Do you find that maybe you’re using several different programs or systems that don’t talk to each other… and then you wonder where your team is in terms of accomplishing tasks and goals? If you aren’t already using a cloud-based tool to help you collaborate with your team AND your vendors, now is the perfect time to consider making a change. Having a system in place that enables everyone to see what they need to see, while including the proper files (and most up-to-date versions!!) in one central place online, not only prevents everyone from hunting-and-pecking for the info, but makes the planning process more clear. Having a 20-tab excel matrix might be “comfortable” because you’ve been using it for so long, but expanding into a project management program will enable you to shrink those docs, and help get every stakeholder on the same page (LITERALLY).


Top Tool Suggestions:

Redbook has a very nice interface, enabling users to sort tasks, keep detailed productivity reports, keep visual project timelines, and hold teammates accountable. It has integration with Zoom so you can hold video meetings, email plugins from Outlook and Gmail, and integrations with Box, Dropbox, Slack, Google Drive, and more.

Time Doctor enables you to not only track time spent on specific clients or projects, but it also has integration with a ton of tools you’re likely already using such as Google Drive, Slack, FreshBooks, Podio, Asana, Basecamp, and more.

Proofhub is a great alternative to the “big” tools like Basecamp, Wrike, TeamWork, Asana, and Trello. They even have comparisons of their tool to each of these explained on their Website. It has project templates, chat, discussions, time tracking, a calendar, Workflows and kanban boards, and reporting. They also have some key integrations that will streamline your workflow!  

This isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s a great start! It’s a way to get our minds brewing on some of the things we all struggle with as professionals, whether you’re working in the meetings and events industry or beyond.

What if you posted this list next to your computer? It’s likely it would help you focus on honing in on the goals you’ve set. Focusing, thinking, and executing on these things will also help you feel more accomplished… And that’s something we can ALL appreciate in our daily lives (both professional and personal).

Prioritize. Ponder. Perform… Repeat.


Time Doctor blog post with a TON of tools summarized.
Proofhub has also provided a great post with a tool summary.

Do Work That Excites You

When I get asked what I’m about professionally I say I’m passionate about events and marketing, and particularly how communication manifests itself between the two. I’ve worked in sales and marketing since 1998 (prior to that I was a technical writer), and through the work I did from 2006-2012 I grew the most personally and professionally because of my work in live events… I grew primarily because of the people in the industry with whom I built relationships, and because of all the work that went into the events that I planned and sold — not to mention the thrill of seeing an event come to life after SO MUCH work being put into the planning (more on that later!).

I’ve been working as a marketing consultant for the past two years. What does that mean? I help companies with any facet of marketing they need help with. I’ve developed sponsorship packages for an association, developed social media strategies for startups, provided technical advisement & Website development for an event planning company, managed community for three restaurants (all social communication and reputation management), executed marketing strategies, and developed blogs. If it involves marketing, I’m in!

Okay, so I’m not always in. I’ve learned the power of saying no. Saying no to taking on too much work… And to individuals or companies I had an inkling might not be a good fit. It was terrifying and empowering at the same time.

When I met my client Tommy Melancon to chat about his new venture EventCollab, I knew right away that I wanted to get involved. Planning events is an incredibly involved process. Events have planners, venues, producers, graphic designers, social media marketers, sponsors, exhibitors, audio-visual equipment providers (sales people, account managers, project managers), event producers (sometimes also the AV co.), freelancers, volunteers… and on. Making sure all of these people are collaborating efficiently is something we’ve all been trying to do forever. EventCollab excited me because it was a solution to a problem I knew existed–a problem I have experienced first-hand. There had to be a better way.

How many times do you have difficulty following an email trail that’s been going around-and-around? Keeping track of what the latest schedule is, and who still has what to do for the event? It’s exhausting. Most of the event management apps that are out there (more than 100) are attendee-facing apps dealing with registration, scheduling, speaker management, etc., but there are very few providing the ability to have logistics and planning pieces under one roof. The solution under the EventCollab roof is fantastic! I sincerely wish I had a program like this when I was working in event production. The opportunity to collaborate with my clients in this way leading up to a show would have been a dream.

I have the choice in who I work with, and I’m truly excited to be working with EventCollab. Working with a start-up being funded by someone who is still running his event production co. (EventCollab was created out of necessity because nothing else existed like it when they began development) is a challenge. And marketing a product that’s not really in competition yet with another product (there are few that exist, and they are very different) is also a challenge — we’re basically competing with “the same old way” everyone has been doing things… So we’re tasked with challenging the events industry to perhaps step outside of their comfort zone.

Getting out of our comfort zones can be hard at first, but in this case the payoff will be more collaborative and efficient teams, which will save money in the long run, and make planning repeat events more seamless. The potential excites me!

I hope the work you’re doing excites you also. Doing what you enjoy, with people you like, in a way that satisfies you will feed your soul. I’ve been told that I’ve never seemed happier, which is a direct result of following my gut, and only working with people and products that I believe in.

If you’re an #eventprof, you need to give EventCollab a whirl – challenge yourself to do it better. For real.

Check EC out on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+… We love giving demos! Click here for the Website