Your Greatest Networking Weapon? Your Business Card.
So the networking event’s over, you’re stumbling back half-drunk from all that free booze, and you’re half-cursing your arse luck over that pretty agency chick whose number you didn’t quite manage to get. All you’ve got is a hangover and a lousy bunch of business cards from people whose faces you’ve already forgotten.
Hold on to that thought.
The truth is that your business card remains your greatest networking tool, and possibly the only thing people can remember you with (other than a good impression). So how do you ensure your business cards stand out from the rest? Here are some thoughts:
1. Have a great design.
Consider carefully the image you are trying to present to the world. Eye-catching, yet clean and simple, design works best. For example, author, entrepreneur and venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki prefers his business cards simple with large fonts.
Make your business cards a conversation piece. For example, my friend Ben Koe has a great idea of turning your business card into a name tag for events. After all, these days it’s relatively easy to create fantastic, memorable business cards. Custom printing services such as MOO provide flexibility in allowing you to choose card stock or even having different images on each card. All this is done over the web and they even ship worldwide.
2. Give yourself an online presence.
Make it easy for people to search for information about you.
I highly recommend having a profile on business networking site LinkedIn, which can be a source of good sales and job leads. (I’ve previously written a short post on this.) Twitter‘s also great if you use it for professional purposes.
3. Include only the necessary.
Include only critical information so that people know what you do and how to contact you – name, address, contact numbers and website address. LinkedIn, Twitter and Skype IDs are recommended too, if you have them. Facebook? Not unless you want the world privy to your personal shenanigans.
Seriously, nobody really cares about your company’s mission statement, or that award you’ve won 10 years ago. Leave out your qualifications too, unless you’re really a doctor of the medical sort.
4. Make a good impression.
Needless to say, no matter how well-designed your business cards are, you’re not going to leave a good impression if you act like a jerk or buffoon. Remember your manners! If you’re not familiar with Asian customs, here’s a guide on exchanging business cards with Asians.
Daniel Goh is the founder and chief editor of Young | Upstarts, as well as an F&B entrepreneur. Daniel has a background in public relations, and is interested in issues in entrepreneurship, small business, marketing, public relations and the online space. He can be reached at daniel [at] youngupstarts [dot] com.