Thursday, October 01, 2009

Carry Business Cards - It Is About The Other Person

There is a lot of buzz about "business card alternatives". In tech savvy circles many people think it makes them look trendy and cool to loudly announce they do not carry business cards... brazenly proclaiming business cards to be "old school".

I met one young dude who captured the hearts and minds of a group at a networking event with his long song about his being cardless for environmental reasons. He drove an SUV. Poser.

I have encountered a number of people who tell me to to send them a LinkedIn request. Ummmm, why tell me to do all the work. Meeting someone and giving them a homework assignment so they can be connected to you is a bit pompous. Don't ask me to do the work. Lazy.

Worse are those who who profess not to carry cards for any number of reasons, but instruct others to give them a card, promising that they will follow up with an email or social media connection. Silence, no follow up. Liar.

The thing with using technology to replace business cards is that the technology must be pervasive and the user must not drop the ball. Since the odds of these lining up (everyone using the same technology and humans following through later) is zero.... get over yourself and carry business cards.

The reason for having business cards with you is not about YOU, it is about the other person.

Don't be so self-focused that you expect others to operate in the same manner you do when it comes to making connections. I am not damning these technologies, as I use them (I just "bumped" my iPhone with someone a few minutes ago). Technology is great, but to make up reasons to discard business cards thinking you are trendy might make you appear to be a lying lazy poser!

Do not try to prove your coolness to the business community by being a "business card contrarian". I know that our society gets all wacky in love with contrarians... but the truth is we think many of them are jerks at the same time. Prove your coolness by doing great work and helping other people succeed.

Carry cards because it makes it easy for the people you meet to remember you later. You never know who might be the person who could one day bring you an opportunity. Painful to think you are leaving money on the table because people are missing establishing contact because you do not have a business card.

Have A Great Day.



Anonymous said...

I carry three cards Thom! See:

Bump is cool when the other person has an iPhone, but if not you can use this: grab your phone and text "agentjason" to 50500. It also works in reverse so as you say, the other person doesn't do all the work. You'd send the person's phone number and your name to 50500 and your card is pushed to them.

ChiefExecOrganizer said...

Great post, Thom! When I talk about time mgmt w/people, I ask them about what their "Cue" is going to be to remember things later. Often a physical object, LIKE A CARD, is an excellent memory cue to take action from later. Just my two cents!

Debra Helwig said...

Super!! People forget that sometimes the low-tech option is the most elegant solution. There are still a larger percentage of folks than you realize who use and even prefer low-tech. If you stop giving those people the option of "the old fashioned way", you could be cutting off a raft of potential clients in the name of being cool. How cutting edge is that?

Appreciate your insights, always.


Robert Quigley said...

I think I might have inspired this post. I just forgot my cards because I'm forgetful, I swear! haha

Christopher Holman said...

Great points Thom. I am surprised at how many people I meet who do not have a business card with them. If I ask them for one on the run, and they don't have one, I often get an excuse for why they don't have one, and excuses are not a good thing when making an initial impresson. Even in the high-tech world we live in, offering a business card is still the standard accepted means of providing your essential contact information while supporting credibility for yourself and your business. I always make sure I have a few on me anytime I leave the house. You never know if that next person you meet at the supermarket checkout is the one that opens up a door of opportunity for you. Be prepared!