Recently, I read a blog post that discussed the idea that the business card will one day be a thing of the past. Another victim of technology like phone books and road maps. Obsolete in the digital world thanks to cell phones and tablets. But I say phooey. The idea that something that has been used since the 15th century would be taken down by QR codes, “bump” technology or Google glasses now is ludicrous. Business cards are a vital aspect of business and to let them be replaced would just be a shame; these 3 ½ x 2 inch pieces of thick paper printed with a few pieces of information on them have a role in society that can never be replaced.
The Perfect Conversation Starter
At the start of any business relationship you have the inevitable delivery of “The Business Card”. This time tested ritual is an integral part of business. There is an art to a delivering the card I have seen used, but never perfected. It’s something you could work on your whole life and I’ve only seen it done just right a handful of times. I call it “The Perfect delivery” and it’s comprised of the hand shake, the card delivery and the introduction, all completed in one fluid movement. It’s a beautiful thing when done right and upon completion, the conversation begins. I believe there is a deep seated psychological reason for this I will get to later but without the card, this will never work. One can’t shake ones hand while whipping out their cell phone to bump information or scan some QR code. It would be awkward, unprofessional and it would not fulfill its purpose.
Personalized to fit Who You are and What You do
Another notable aspect of the business card is its ability to hold an enormous amount of information while still remaining stylish and personal. One of the best parts of making ones business card is choosing the font and stock. This can be personalized to suit your brand, personality, and business; once you find a combination that fits all those features, the result is amazing. Patrick Bateman (American Psycho) said it best during the business card scene, “Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh my God, it even has a watermark.” He knew class and although he was a psychotic mass murderer, he still appreciated the importance of a stylishly created business card. Your card is a personalized representation of who you are and what you do and quite often the first impression one has of you, so you want your card to look good and stand out or it will just be another waded up piece of paper in someone’s wallet or pocket book.
It’s not What, It’s Who
When designing a business card many people focus on their logo or brand. They often put a picture of themselves with their company motto underneath, or they decorate it, flash it up to make it stand out and I am all about that, but don’t forget the most important aspect of the business card, your name. WHO you are should stand out, boldly and triumphant so that it is the first thing the prospective client sees. Remember “The Perfect Delivery”, you are handing them your card and saying your name so they see and hear who you are while shaking your hand. Three senses are being used here, I’m no doctor, but there must be a link between the three parts of “The Perfect Delivery” that has helped people remember your name, so don’t hide it with too much flair.
The Ultimate Information Giver
The last thing one should remember about your card is its purpose, which is to give the prospect all they need to do business with you. I understand this can be done electronically, however the card has everything you need in one tiny little place; your name and profession, certifications and licenses, your address, phone numbers, email, and website. All one needs to get a hold of you. Make sure this information is legible and not over crowded with too much information. I’ve seen some cards with more phone numbers and email addresses than letters in their name. Be informative, but don’t over-do it, you don’t want to confuse the prospect with too much information, so just enough to impress but just don’t over dress.
Now I’m sure all the techies out there will disagree with a large portion of what I have written here; I understand this can all be done using the many digital devices we see used today, and I am not saying don’t use them, but don’t forget what the business card brings to the table. It’s the information delivery system that starts the business relationship in a personal manner and its role in society should remain as it is, like they say, “why fix something that isn’t broke.”