A stack of cards is just… a stack of cards. Spending time and energy listening to those around you can build business faster than any collection of business cards.

This week we asked: At an average networking event, how many people’s business cards or information do you normally come away with?

1. 1 to 3 – 0%

2. 3 to 6 – 18%

3. 6 to 10 – 58%

4. More than 10 – 24%

My Thoughts: Just as I thought, 100% of you thought you should come home from events with more then three business cards. While, in theory, making more connections may seem productive, and may work in other professions, lawyers are another story.  Try this test– look back at the last three cards you’ve gathered from events and try to remember five things about each person that would help you make a deeper connection or help them out in some way. See the problem?

I would argue that spending more time on less people will speed up your business development in a way that might surprise you. People bring business to (and refer business to) people they know and trust—not a random business card. Focus your time on “choice relationships,” those people who you find a connection with and could build a meaningful relationship with… one that you genuinely would like to get to know… then and only then can they get to know you. If you do this you are more likely to make the time to nurture the relationship to make things happen for both of you and truly make a difference in your business development journey. The goal for your next networking event is to meet ONE person and get to know that person… ONLY ONE.  Stop collecting cards and collect relationships… you never know where it may lead.

As my colleague Simon Ward of Piper Alderman says:

Don’t aim too high in your marketing strategy—bagging elephants is a Herculean task—but select small, reasonably achievable targets and chip away at them. Small successes can build to bigger things.

Black Pearl: Think networking isn’t your thing? Before you throw out the concept entirely visit a few of the articles posted here in “25 articles on networking for shy people.” You might find some inspiration.