Recently, at a networking event, a young woman approached me and asked for my business card. So far so good right? Typical you might think as that’s what these networking events are all about. Hand out as many cards as you can, collect as many as you can and then set about the follow-up call where you will, in theory, make great connections and obtain new business. Except that do you? What happens when those business cards get tossed into your purse or pocket? Do you follow up? What purpose do they really serve?
The young woman in question, when I asked for her business card in return, advised me (gently I think, aware that she was talking to a “PWPM” post war, pre-millennial) that she only had an electronic version of her business card and that instead, when she collected cards from people like me, (dinosaurs?) she now held “all the power” in the relationship. She could determine if and when she wished to reach out to relics like me and could share her information in a manner of her choosing. I invite you to speculate on the various responses available to me (some of them not fit for print) but one thing this conversation did spark was some research into whether in fact business cards are becoming a thing of the past.
With fast, easy and even free access to website building tools, creating a website that will clearly explain everything anyone ever wanted to know about you is painless. And free. Did we mention free? If your website has a catchy enough moniker you won’t need a business card to help others remember it. Hand out a pen instead, with your website on it, then people have both a handy tool for taking notes (like we did in the olden days) and access to your website with all your fantastic business info on it. Of course, if you’re handing out a pen and need something to jot down a note on – wouldn’t a business card do the trick? Just asking!
Millennial of course always have their phone in their hands. (Hey, they make sweeping generalizations about us, turnabout is fair play) so that means: A: they have no room for a business card and B: they EXPECT to take note of your information in their phone, setting you up as a contact before you’ve even thought to blink. Again however, I point out some of the obvious flaws including password-protected phones that don’t turn back on quickly, almost out of battery scenarios, and most commonly, typos as you attempt to have “that’s Giulia with a “g,” Frangiopani” spell out her name in a crowded and noisy room of business professionals. (Think Starbucks. Baristas ask for your name all the time and how often, I mean HOW OFTEN do they get it WRONG!) So now, someone has your contact information except they don’t. Your name is spelled incorrectly and they also misheard your company name so when they type in “Frangiopanini” instead on LinkedIn they get a sandwich store specializing in Paninis and don’t understand why they can’t connect with you!
The truth is a business card, with a logo that’s eye-catching and perhaps even memorable, leaves a lasting impression. PLUS, it has the added advantage of containing ALL your information in one easy to read location. It’s not some random name in a phone (where did I meet Giulia with a “g” again and why do I have her phone number in my mobile?) and a business card helps to foster an association. You pull out the business card after a day of networking, you see the company logo and that prompts your memory to also retrieve a visual of the person you just met. Perhaps, dare I suggest, your business logo was memorable enough that it actually served as a conversation starter when you were first introduced. Perhaps the business card even has a picture on it helping you to recall both the time and place of your meeting. Necessary evil? I think so and frankly, I don’t think they are actually all that evil. Unless you have extraordinary recall or sit down promptly after every meeting with every person you’ve ever been introduced to, it’s likely a business card will be a better tool for follow up conversations than an e-version ever could be. Think of all those dinosaur bones we keep finding laying around. Sure they are relics from the past but they also help tell a pretty good story. They help us to identify and differentiate the various species. Isn’t that what we all want? To be identified and to help differentiate ourselves from the crowd? Be like the dinosaur and leave a bit of yourself behind at your next networking event.
As Owner and Principal partner of “Writing Right For You” Sheralyn is a Communications Strategist – working together with entrepreneurs to maximize profit through effective use of the written word. Looking for web content that works, blog articles that engage or communications strategies that help you get noticed? Contact Sheralyn today. Sheralyn is also the mother of two children now entering the “terrible and terrific teens” and spends her free time volunteering for several non-profit organizations.
Sheralyn Roman B.A., B.Ed.
Writing Right For You
Communications Strategies that help you GET TO THE POINT!