At a conference I attended last year, I exchanged over 60 business cards. Many more contacts were swapped over smartphones. All that while, I kept pondering over the relevance of a business card in today's hyper-advanced digital age.
I had the answer to this as soon I got home. The contacts saved on my phone were the first to be forgotten. While they were safe on my phone’s memory, they had slipped off my mind. As for business cards, I was forced to go through them as soon as I unpacked. This process reminded me of the conversations I had at the conference and even triggered the motivation to reconnect with a few people I had met.
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This recall value is one of the main reasons why the good old business card will never go out of fashion. Today, even though we are armed with smartphones and iPads, and business communication has almost fully gone digital, there still seems to be no competition for the business card as a recollection tool and a tangible reminder of a meeting.
What makes this recollection tool work better is its inherent personal touch. Exchanging a business card involves eye contact, usually followed by a handshake. Tapping contacts on a digital device is rather impersonal and lacks the warmth of making a personal connection. Remember that long-lasting are built on genuine connections and real relationships.
The business card comes in most handy when potential opportunities materialise months after a contact was established. As the physical card stands on the table with all the details, it makes you referable at any time. Have all useful information on the card--your name, phone number, email, website, social media links and the services offered by your company.
A business card reflects your personality. It is the first piece of information your contact gets about you. Imagine meeting a crucial business contact and having to scramble for a pen and paper to exchange your coordinates. Handing over a business card creates the impression that you are prepared to seize an opportunity whenever it may arise. Being on your toes is one of the most valued qualities in the business world.
A good business card can be your brand ambassador. A professional, attractive and creatively-designed card is the most cost-effective marketing tool to create an instant impression. Make your card stand out with smart additions like an interesting quote or a quick fact. The most notable business card that came my way at the conference was one with a photograph. Nothing helps recollection better than a picture. Also, people are less likely to throw away a business card which has a person's picture on it.
Agreed business cards are old-school, but there are many ways to make them innovative and unforgettable. Adapt your card to suit the times by adding little elements like QR codes. The Economist gives a few examples of business cards that are instant conversation starters. From miniature plastic figure business cards of LEGO employees to McDonald’s cards shaped as a portion of fries and that of Canadian divorce lawyer that can be torn in two—one half for each spouse, the business card is taking up newer avatars by the day. So stay updated and be innovative to make a mark when you hand out your card.
There is a lot we can do with the business card and use them to our advantage. It is all just about getting used to them all over again.
(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)