We know that we should never, ever be without our business cards, or contact cards if you are in transition from one career to another. What do you do with those cards when you carry them everywhere and how do you spread them among the people who you meet from day to day? How do you make it easy for others to know you?
Your name, business name if appropriate, telephone number, email address, and mailing address are the basic information that all business, or contact, cards should present. Some phrase or title to identify what you do would be informative, or you may include a phrase about your business, if applicable.
The cards should be printed in an easy to read font, a large enough font size to be legible, and in contrasting colors, type and background, so that one may easily read the information on the cards. A level 3 font, illegible scrip fonts, and dark colors on a black background should all be avoided.
The reverse side of the card is frequently not utilized, but it is great for additional information. Normal business card size should be the norm, and avoid round card stock unless you are providing a beer coaster. Oversized cards are as bad as the small thumb sized cards that some people use. Odd shaped or sized cards are just too difficult for anyone to file, read, or even hold. Even 4 panel cards are difficult.
When you ask anyone for their card, be polite, and read their name after receiving their card so that you may fix the person’s face in your mind. Then, ask if you may give them your card and provide it face up in a non-threatening manner. The card should be clean, not creased or curled, and should be accurate in its information. If your information changes, get your cards reprinted.
What do you do if the person with whom you are conversing does not have contact cards with them? If possible try to get them to provide their contact number or email address there and then, but it might be necessary to rely on them to reply to you later. Ask if you can give them your card so that they might forward their information to you. If they don’t, maybe you should not have tried to start a relationship after all.
Must you carry the cards of your close relationships with you so that you can provide referrals to other networking partners? That requires you to maintain a large supply for several partners, too many to carry easily. Why not enter all your contacts into your electronic file, maintain your contacts in identifying categories with notes, and sync it with your phone? That way you can forward referrals to whom you wish, when you wish.
Business cards say a lot about us over and above the information that is included on them. They can be an extension of our personalities. Make sure that they show others a professional image of you, providing others the information that you want them to know, but not overwhelming them with data. If you make it easy for them to contact you at a later time, you have started your contacts on the easy road to a relationship.
Please leave me your comments, or email me at Jim@JimTeasley.com, or call me at 360-314-8691. Remember that the person who you meet should believe that you appreciate meeting them and the start of a relationship. The exchange of business cards can have a major impact on this relationship and how successful your partnership may be. Start this partnership out on mutually successful footing and keep it there.