Do you still do business cards? I sure do, and probably always will.
Some of the more digital humans have stopped using them or become very negative toward business card carriers. They might have a point.
For instance, Chris put out this Kitchen Table Talk last week on the subject of handing out business cards at conferences and events. For the most part, I agree with his ideas on how we have become conditioned to attend events and chuck out cards left and right. I agree that not everyone you meet at an event is someone you will end up doing business with. I totally get that some events have even become business card factories where more importance is placed on how many cards you give out, rather than who receives them. All good points.
But in a world that’s going digital at an almost alarming rate, I need to keep some things tangible.
The Purpose of Business Cards
This is pretty simple if you think about. Business cards were invented so that humans could share contact information without having to write it down time after time.
Essentially, a business card is a tangible reminder of a conversation. If you’re like me, you might even scribble short notes on the back of cards if you’re in a fast-paced conversation. Trading business cards also helps to remind me to stay on top of my database. If you live the lifestyle of networking or just like to attend events, you probably get why this is critical. It’s so easy to forget a name or company, or worse, get someone you meet confused with someone else. That makes for an awkward situation.
If you are Chris and people flock to you, they also make a point to track you down. Chris is memorable and everywhere. And to his credit, he’s worked really hard to earn the right to that type of attention. But in reality, most of us aren’t there yet, so we have to work hard to follow up, rekindle conversations and build deeper connections.
That process starts with first remembering why you want to stay in touch with someone you meet, and second, having enough information to make it happen.
Less Is More
The standard to this point has been to have information on your card that includes your name, title, email, phone number, company address, logo, etc. In the past year, including choice social media profiles has also been a trend. If that suits you, go for it. I have cards that contain all that information because the individuals I typically meet with one-to-one expect to see it. My personal opinion (after I printed my cards) is that it’s overkill.
I like Evan Terry’s cards that you see in the picture. Evan has made things simple. Email; cell phone; and in BIG, BOLD letters, his Twitter handle. Can you guess where I reconnected with Evan first? What I like about Evan’s approach is that with one Twitter profile, I get a nice headshot of him and a link to his LinkedIn profile. When I visit his LinkedIn profile, I get everything else, including a whole mess of information on his skills, experience and his network of connections. This is everything I need to continue building a relationship.
You Can Make Better Cards
Maybe you should have two sets of cards. Is there any rule that says you can’t have one card for your company and one card for Brand YOU? Who knows? Maybe you already have a personal brand card. At any rate, here are some ideas that you can use if you want to go in this direction.
- Include a headshot or some type of photo. Some people are great with faces, but terrible with names. (That would be me…)
- Include one or two online points of contact and one offline point of contact. Less is more.
- Make your points of contact the places you check the most often. For instance, if you’re not a big Twitter user, why bother to list it on your card? If someone connects with you and you take three weeks to respond, what impression does that leave?
- Choose a brand color for yourself and own it. People tend to remember brand colors easily. For bonus points, wear or carry something with your brand color. What color do you like?
- Choose a card with decent weight. Thicker cards tend to weather better in backpacks, pockets and suitcases.
- You may want to keep your card a standard size. This is a personal preference, but cards that are different shapes and sizes don’t stack well.
What’s your take on the whole business card thing? Do you still carry? Are you thinking about getting personal cards?