Putting your Number AND Style into address books

4 Jan , 2013 Blog,Food for Thought,Networking

 As young business people, planning which direction we wish to take, it is a fantastic idea to get ourselves out to as many networking events as possible. You just never know what opportunities might come your way or the useful people you may meet! When we do meet these people however, we need to be able to create and keep a connection with them in order to build your network. Some bright spark invented the business card, and that is what I will be talking about today.

At all the events I have been to, I have come back very pleased with myself, weighed down by bulging pockets of business cards. The problem is, at this stage in my life, with no long term job or established company of my own; I have had no prior need for business cards, and have therefore had none to give back to people in return. This is such a missed opportunity! I have ended up writing on the back of other people’s business cards, tearing off corners of bar menus, writing on beer mats etc, All of which I’m sure are quite memorable at the time, but I have a feeling they would fairly quickly be mistaken for litter…

As aspiring business people we need to put ourselves in people’s contact lists and more importantly, get people to get in touch with us!

I think the worst possible thing to do is what I have been doing – going in with nothing to hand to people. The second worst thing is to rip off paper, write on beer mats and use the back of other people’s cards. This is because there is absolutely no control over the subliminal ‘message’ about ourselves that we put across. If you hand over a beer mat with your details on, what sort of message will that give the recipient the next day? Likewise someone else’s card will have THEIR personal branding on it, not your own.

Your business card is a tiny billboard that people will file away probably for quite a while, so it is important that it has information on it that reflects you. Here are a few cool things I came across when designing my own business cards.

  • Recycled packaging cut out, with an ink stamp displaying all your details (Sustainable engineer)
  • A poker chip with your details printed on it (casino owner)
  • Thin wooden rectangle with the details burnt on
  • Balloons, so that you can see the details when inflated (party planning agency)

These are all pretty wild, but I’m sure you get the picture that it needs to reflect what you do.

As for the content, it doesn’t matter if you don’t have a company to put on there! That is actually a bonus, as you don’t have to conform to their branding, you can make it completely about YOU. I am an intern at BNY Mellon, but if I went into a networking event for young tech entrepreneurs, it really wouldn’t help me come across as creative and entrepreneurial. My main interest lies in being creative, particularly with digital/online marketing and strategies. I am currently designing a card that reflect this, with QR codes, reflecting my technical digital interests, some of my own photography to display creativity, and a heavy focus on social media and my blog. All of these aspects will hopefully reinforce my personal brand and remind people of my real character when they pick up the card the next day. Go and have a try yourself, have a think about how you would like to be seen when you’re pulled out of someone’s trouser pocket the next day.

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