A young associate I coach recently asked whether an older company executive cares about getting a card from an associate at a networking event.

To be candid, I don’t believe the executive cares about getting a card from a young associate or a card from a more senior lawyer. So, in many cases giving your business card means nothing, but making a positive first impression and learning about the executive and his company does. I always tell lawyers I coach to ask good questions, listen to answers and find a way to follow up after the event in a way that will make a lasting positive impression.
A young lawyer in my old firm told me once about attending a gala social for people in the industry that was the focus of her law practice. At the event she met a gentleman in his sixties who was a leader in the industry. He is German but has lived in the United States for 30 years. The young lawyer spent a year in high school and a year in college in Germany. Since then she has kept up with her ability to speak German.
When the associate got back from the event she called me and asked what she could do that would advance the ball. It turned out that a photographer at the event had taken a photo of the two of them and a few other people. I suggested that she get a copy of the photo and either write in German on the back of it, or better on monarch stationary, that she was glad to meet him and some other pleasantries about her experiences in Germany. I told her she could conclude by simply saying something about the work she is doing in the industry and how much she has enjoyed working with
companies in the industry. She did it and she actually received a call from him thanking her for the card.
Will she ever get business from the German gentleman? Who knows, but I feel fairly certain he will remember the associate and may well mention her to others in the industry he meets.