OK, some who’ve been reading this blog for a while might be under the impression that I don’t think business cards are important. That’s not true. I just don’t think they are important for the reasons that everyone else thinks they are important.

Most people think that business cards are designed to bring in business. The whole reason people hand out as many as possible at a networking event is so that one or two people will be motivated to call them. The cold, hard truth is, in general, that’s just not going to happen. Really, the most important card is the other person’s. You need to get it so that you can make future contact with them.

So, why should you bother having your own card? Two reasons that I can think of.

  1. Expectations. Most people think if you don’t have a business card, then you aren’t a serious business. Lacking that little slip of paper with your name on it, they can’t believe that you are for real and so they are going to feel completely justified at dismissing you out of hand.
  2. Connections. Every once in a while you are going to run into a real networker. These are the folks who actually do something with the cards they receive. These are the people with whom you really want to connect. Make sure they have the means to do so.
OK, I can think of one other reason to have your own cards: You can drop them in the fish bowl with the other business cards at restaurants and trade shows in the hopes of winning a free lunch.
So, do go out and get your business cards. Just keep in mind why you have them and don’t place too much significance on the fact that someone asks for one. They’re probably just being polite.
Or they just might be that million-dollar connection you’ve been trying to make all along.
Photo credit: Brian Lary