How often, have you come across people who are dying to empty their sneaky plastic cases holding around 200 business cards with every opportunity that they get! Well even in today’s digital era which provides social handles and place holders to help people know what you do (at least communicate what you claim you do!), if you visit the next big exhibition/conclave/ networking/ or a general social booze network you will know what I am speaking about here! You will eventually come back home with the pamphlets, catalogs and business cards which will end up in your cute dustbin- for the simple reason- the people you know- you, already have their details and so do they- the others who are floating around like butterflies and moths- well, neither they care a damn for you nor do you!
Business cards have been one of the by-products of the MBA led times! Sales, Financial firms, marketing juggernauts, you name it all of them would always end up flashing the jazzy piece of plastic coated paper with their name lost somewhere among the name of the firm, it’s logo and another half a dozen of obligatory mentions and logos of partners/ vendors/ approves all stacked on it (if one side was used up- the other was always there at hand!)- so much melodrama for what? Just to ensure the next order of PCs, purchase of stock, that real estate piece – that’s about it?
If you have been into sales/ marketing or know of anyone- do a simple experiment- invite them for a lazy afternoon chat and ask them to share their big hits- and then see the story flow- more often then not this business card will have a role to play- now once the melodrama is over- do ask- how many customers/ clients / acquaintances called up when your dog died or you were under the weather- well the chances are- if there has no human connect- no one would have even noticed if you are yet counted as a live member of the society to taken away by undertakers! so what the f**k was achieved flashing your card, sweating it all- got your incentive, salary check well- yes- sure you did- got that incentive based vacation, promotion- great- but my friend- what about you?- what is that you achieved – yes “U”
Do this simple test- Reflect upon your greatest achievement and ask yourself – could this have been done by anyone else- with similar training, qualifications etc. if you answered Yes to this question, congratulations- you have just screwed up your life in a big way- because what you consider your achievement is a “template achievement” which can be reached by any other Tom or Harry! You just wasted your life doing and achieving which just did not need you to be there! More often then not, it is situations like these that are the source of the compelling belief to leave that tiny winy business card- just in case you had a stupid enough name that would stick out of all the other similar stereo types around doing the same thing that you do!
So what’s the point- well- let me not drag it further, the point is simple effectiveness and engagement is driven not by the card- but by the person. By saying the person- i mean here- competencies, abilities, experience, soft skills and the whole range of attributes that get crisply bundled into to form a personality that is engaging enough yet- intelligent, proactive, warm and humble with an openness and eagerness to learn! Once you have mastered this aspect of becoming a personality unto yourself and being able to communicate and sell your persona- you would also like to do away with the unnecessary weight dangling in your wallet and eliminate the burden to carry a case with the cards all times!
Of course yes, certain occasions do need them- but you need to calibrate and measure them well- there’s a good reason we do not roam on the streets wearing our wedding gown or birthday suit just because we like it!
The purpose has to be strong enough to validate the necessity of the card in today’s world- and as the old adage says- Your name arrives before you at every meeting- this depends purely on the human connect that you have been able to create, sustain and develop on an ongoing basis without the crutches of your business card!
Finally, make it a mission to be a brand unto yourself and let your aura arrive before you reach for that engagement- rest will be taken care of as long as you have sown the right seeds in your fertile past for a rewarding future! Throw that piece of paper now!
Live mindful and stay sensible! Until next time- ciao and take care- heading to rip a few a cards