The Business of the Business Card

Not much has changed with how useful business cards can be. At this rate, they’ll probably always be relevant. Let me explain. Business cards have been around since the 17th century! Back then, members of polite society were expected to carry these pocket-sized introductory cards to announce their arrival. You’d show up to someone’s door and place your card in a silver platter and a doorman or servant would take it up to the owner of the house.

Business cards play a part in how you network with other people. For the modern person it serves as a way to provide a newly met friend, work associate, colleague, or possible employer with a lasting impression of your encounter together. Most importantly the card leaves  them with multiple ways to get and keep in touch.

Its very design should be used to communicate something about who you are. Design your card to communicate to an audience and keep in mind what impression it will give long after the encounter. It could be months before you hear from them.

Basic Card Trading Etiquette

  1.  When receiving a card it’s polite to look at it. Don’t just shove it in your pocket.
  2. Have translated business cards in the language of the country that you’re in if you’re traveling.
  3. Make appropriate eye contact during the hand off and avoid handing off your card in a handshake.
  4. If you can help it, don’t give out cards that have been previously written on or are in poor condition.
  5. It’s common to make business cards for your book titles but, this can relate some information about you that you don’t exactly want being easily known.
    • First, it reveals that you’re new to the game. Experienced authors will have a web address on a personal business card where you can find a list of the books they have written. I’ve found that they won’t bother making exclusive cards for each book.
    • Second, it doesn’t help to build a personal connection with you as an author, it just helps others remember your project. If that’s what you want, then great. If you’re networking and looking to build a following or relationship, then this isn’t great. If you want to make business cards for your book then that’s up to you, just don’t forget to include all of the other information people need to get in touch!

This is a follow-up (after two years) to an article I published with Elite Millennial Magazine on how to use business cards to network. You can read the original article by accessing this link here: The Business of the Business Card.

The image attached to this post is the business/networking card I’m currently using, with some of my personal information taken out.