Despite our digital world, the simple business card is still an essential tool in connecting with others. To get the most out of your business card supply, you have to know how to use it to your advantage. Opinions vary about what card design is best, when much of that decision depends on the industry you're in, and the setting. In addition, technology has changed the role of business cards in our professional lives. Are you using your business cards to your full benefit? Here are five common business card myths and the truths behind them:
"People won't forget you if you hand them a business card." Don't assume that your phone will start ringing once you pass a box of cards out at your next networking event. Your business card is only an aid to help you make a positive impact and share your contact information. However, it's only one of many tools in your toolbox. Though significant, a business card doesn't do the heavy lifting of building relationships. Your next step is a follow-up phone call, an email or handwritten note, or an invitation for coffee.
"Pass your business card out to as many people as possible to maximize your efforts." While offering your business card to a solid connection is a plus at conferences, mixers and events, it's equally important to establish a personal connection first. There's no substitute for taking a few moments to talk and learn more about them before reaching for your card.
"An outdated card doesn't matter." No one wants to spend money unnecessarily, but consider the message your card conveys with outdated information. This may appear as though you are not on top of your game, or are trying to scrape by until you absolutely have to pay for new cards. It can also say, "I'm not completely settled into this job." If you are willing to cut corners with a hand scribbled card, how will you handle a new client's business?
"A high-end, oversized or uniquely shaped card will stand out above the rest." Yes, the quality of your business card is an important detail; think back to the last time someone handed you a business card that was printed at home, with perforated edges. You surely noticed the flimsy paper and may have even wondered about how well things were going for their company. Business cards are an investment, and the weight of the paper and overall layout does make a difference. While an awkward sized business card shows your creativity, it is normally not worth the risk. If you are considering anything unusual, run it by several trusted associates first to make sure it communicates who you are as a professional.
"Business cards are antiquated, it's better to connect online." There's no replacement for handing a new contact a business card that represents you and your company in a favorable light. Even though most people can easily find you by looking you up online, a professional business card sends a message of executive achievement. Consider it the final touch to a good first impression.
When in doubt, rely on a trusted stationer to guide your decision.
For more of Diane's business card tips read, The Etiquette of a Professional Business Card. Visit Diane's blog, connect with her here on the Huffington Post, follow her on Pinterest and "like" The Protocol School of Texas on Facebook.
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