There are SO many people who have blogged about QR codes and have used them a LOT more than me. But this evening, I spoke to a group of young journalists who were really interested in how I put together my current business card. My QR code that takes you to the About page of this website. I use a WordPress plugin that helps mobile users view this site in a phone-friendly format. My business card gets a biographical enhancement for anyone who has a QR code reader on their phone. I'm including a look a portion of my card to give you an idea of how I it looks. The Missouri School of Journalism's student association held a really smart event last night. Professors and professionals from the area met with students for a "Networking Social." The idea was to meet and greet and get experience talking to people you don't know. I spoke to a number of freshmen, sophomores and juniors from the journalism school. We had all kinds of conversations. I loved it. Everyone introduced themselves, gave me solid eye contact and seemed to pay attention to what I had to say. Somehow, my experience turned into a mini-career counseling session to the many students I met.
After meet and greet time ended, the "pros" sat on a panel and gave tips on how to network.
My main tips:
- Don't stare at your phone all the time during conferences. I've made more contacts walking in the hallways and meeting areas by looking up and making eye contact.
- Don't travel in packs at events. Separate. Don't see the people you know during a conference until at the end of the day during a conference. That way you have no choice but to meet new people during sessions and hallway wandering time.
- Find creative ways to meet people. I bring power strips to conferences that eat up battery power. So why not share? During the SXSW10 conference, I came up with one simple rule: If you plug into my power strip, you need to introduce yourself. No requirement to trade cards, no further networking required. But by the end of the conference, I was using the #powerfriends hashtag on Twitter. Anyone who happened to use my power strip could network with me on Twitter thanks to the hashtag. It was fun. And nerdy.
- Follow up. One you've made all kinds of contacts, follow up with an email. Make notes on a notebook or even the person's business cards so you remember who they are when you send that note. You never know when one of those new contacts can become your new best friend. (By the way, I don't always successfully follow through with this tip. I wish I was better at this. I honestly think I need to schedule full days away from the newsroom just to focus on networking.)
The big question at the end of the event was: How the heck did you make that QR code on your business card?
Here's how I did it. First I searched "QR code generator." That's how I discovered Kaywa's generator. All you have to do is type in the information you want added into the code. (In my case, it's a link to my website.) You can choose which size QR code you would like to create. Once you create it, you can embed it into a website. Or you can just save the image. Once I had my image, I went to Moo to create my new business card. The site lets you give it whatever look you want and you can attach an image on the details side. It isn't that complicated, but it makes a clean looking business card that has a talking point the moment you hand it over to your new contact. (Plus it's just fun to compare QR code readers and talk about tech tools that I like.)