Business excuses in Amsterdam
As I stood at the train station at Schiphol airport waiting to catch my train to Amsterdam Central, a young man approached me to ask if he was on the right platform and if I could help recommend some hotels and hostels.
I wondered why he chose me. It is a really busy station with a lot of people standing on that platform. Was it because I either had the confidence of a local or the confidence of a seasoned traveller?
I gave him my recommendations and yes; he was on the right platform for the same train I was due to catch in 15minutes.
He asked, “Do you live here?” No, was my answer, but I love this city and I come here a lot. He was curious to know more about me. I told him I was a Management Training Consultant, a Global Graduate Coach and an Author, based in Ghana.
He works for Accenture as a Consultant. He is Indian and is based in India. He had taken time off work to travel across Europe. He was actually coming from Barcelona, a city I had been to a few months prior. All these meant there was a lot to talk about; a shared interest in business and travel. It didn’t matter that we had both not visited each other’s countries yet.
I knew a lot about his company and he was very impressed. I seemed to be ticking the right boxes, until it was time to say bye and exchange business cards. He gave me his and I gave a lousy excuse I was in holiday mode, so I wasn’t carrying mine.
It got me thinking, what if he decided to keep his precious business cards for someone who was up for a business opportunity?
It was as if, I was telling him when I am on holiday, business can wait. What kind of entrepreneur thinks like that? How is that even possible in a world where our international connections can be a huge social capital.
This brings me to the all too common excuse most people make for not having a business card, at say a networking event or even on a regular day.
Most professionals expect you to understand they don’t have one, they have run out, gave it all away at some conference. The list is endless. What has been your excuse? If you work for an organization, just keep your eye on when you are about to run out. When you have less than 50 cards, maybe it is time to reorder.
The thing is, a business card is possibly the only physical trail you might leave behind. Yes, they might remember you, but what about your email? It helps if you’re both active on a social media platform and you’re both happy to connect there. After all, the average person has more friends digitally than in real life. You’ve heard it before; your network is your net-worth. Maximize on that social capital.
So, if you are lucky enough to exchange contact details before your “train arrives or departs” do so and send them a follow up email as soon as possible. You never know where those seemingly brief encounters will take you.
Next time you are out or on a holiday, whether in a personal and professional capacity, you should keep your business antenna up for opportunities and connections. Please carry your cards with you, or exchange social media contacts; like your twitter handle for instance.
It really doesn’t look good to offer an excuse, however genuine.
Edem Adzaho is a multiple award winning International Training Consultant, a Global Graduate Coach, Author and Globetrotter. She has worked in over 24 countries and visited over 40 countries so far.