Saturday, October 13, 2018

Ode to the Business Card

Early in my professional corporate events career I coveted my business cards. They reminded me every day who I was - or at least what I did for a living - in case I forgot.

More important, my business card was the only medium by which people would have a way to reach me. Professionals kept card files in their briefcase and a Rolodex on their desk. Few had any electronic file, much less a contact management system.

Fast forward to 2001 and my new real estate career in Northwest Florida. Yes, I was the new agent in town who knew only a handful of neighbors. But this was the laid back and relaxed Redneck Riviera. I soon discovered a business card was almost offensive.

In 2001 Northwest Florida people did business via handshake and remembered you after meeting only once. A business card was for "city people" who Northwest Florida people preferred would stay away from Northwest Florida.

By the time I left Northwest Florida in 2016 all that had changed. The real estate business card had somewhat come back into vogue, depending on if I was dealing with an old timer or new arrival. It was almost a source of anxiety whether or not to offer my card.

Fast forward again to the present. With Stoddard Media I write public relations. With Stoddard Realty Network I introduce people to superior real estate agents. I attend weekly networking events for both. The business card is crucial for each enterprise. Oh my. Which card do I offer?

(Ignore the grid and red lines. These are template screen shots.)


Without getting too far into the weeds, as I have a tendency to do, I wish to make some key recommendations to fellow networking event attendees.
  • Carry business cards.
  • Clearly express what you do on those cards.
  • Make text on those cards legible without reading glasses.

Those three basics will get you off to a good start. 

I often meet people I want to contact later. If they carry no card I can not do that. If their card conveys some lofty obscure message I will likely forget what they do. If I do not have my readers, small dark text against a dark background render the card useless.

Do not make it difficult for people to find you, particularly those who really want to find you. Make it easy even for old school fading vision people. Just make the dang card clear and easy. 

Go here if you want to read lofty concepts on the business card. Then ignore those lofty concepts. Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett do not need a business card. You are likely not them. 

If you are, hi guys, and thanks for reading. Please call me.

Assuming your name is not Bezos, Gates or Buffet, read this again.