I love observing the business cards that I keep receiving – their paper material, use of fonts & colours, company logos & other elements. It is like offering a piece of yourself or your organization to the other person. Your business card ends up creating an impression on the receiver. Thereby, a good visiting card reflects good taste …& the opposite applies as well!
Though a point worth pondering is that, do we really need to use business cards? In an electronic age, where we keep stressing on saving paper, do we really need to waste expensive paper in creating something which finally ends up in the corner of an office drawer? …instead of which, we could rather send an instant connection request via the LinkedIn app on our smartphone. Or just send a simple electronic vCard on their mobile number. What I want to imply is that, we have various means of connecting through the electronic medium, hence, to use or not to use business cards …that is the question!
Asking for a business card is indeed the very first step of networking. The practice of exchanging visiting cards is so deep rooted, that if you wish to network with someone, the someone will surely ask for a business card. You would certainly end up surprising him/her if you say that you don’t use business cards!
The pros/cons of business cards, according to me, are:
Pro: Quick details about the person in a glance, which help for quick reference – designation, contact number, email, workplace details, etc.
Con: Apparently, the business card shouldn’t get lost! Did you have moments where you have so many business cards, that you just want to throw them away! Or when you desperately want to contact a person, but you just can’t find his/her business card! Argh…
Pro: For creative professionals like photographers, fashion designers, bloggers, chefs, it is a chance of displaying creative thought given behind designing business cards.
Con: Do I mean, the corollary of the above point is: the visiting cards of people in corporate positions like IT services, governments, public/private sectors or banks are absolutely boring? I don’t know… on a second thought, they probably are…
Pro: Visiting cards can be conversation-starters. Well, yes they can be life savers, when you have absolutely nothing in this world to talk about! Even the smallest piece of information on a visiting card can be a huge help, for example, the logo or even the Twitter handle mentioned on the card & how short it is! (I have come across a 3-letter Twitter handle which was very intelligent & also proved that the person had been using Twitter for a long time.)
Con: Again, what if the business card is not interesting …at all! Argh…
The more I think about them, the more pros-cons I find, which makes it further inconclusive – whether to use or not to use them. Especially, with the advent of sites like moo.com (oh-so-classy templates & designs for all kinds of visiting cards), businesscardstar.com (simple & easy interface to design & get a free PDF proof), it is difficult to not be drawn towards designing your own customized card! (I also love the fact that you can use the same template for your about.me page background & import it to moo.com for your visiting card as well. Consistency!)
Undoubtedly, as of now, business cards are here to stay. Love them, hate them, you probably need to have them, at least until people consider this practice too old-fashioned to exist!