Of the four business meetings I have held so far this week, only in one case was the other person able to produce an up to date and informative business card – despite the fact that they were all very senior executives…
As I have said on numerous occasions, a common (and often overlooked) image feature for every would-be business professional, is the business or calling card (the summary information about yourself you choose to give to others).
Although there are no hard facts on the subject, it is estimated that 90% of people do not have a calling card at all. In fact the estimated breakdown looks as follows:
Of the 10% that do have a calling card
• 25% have an informative card
• 35% have cards showing only name, address and phone number
• 40% have cards with out-of-date or incorrect information
This means that only 2.5% of people have a card that is up to date, accurate and gives a reasonably full picture of who they are and what they do.
Always Carry Your Calling Card
Having no calling cards (or one that is inaccurate or short on detail) is a major inhibitor. Even a supply of blank cards is better than none at all, as you can't possibly expect people to remember everything that you tell them. Nor do you want to constantly write down names, phone numbers and any other information, in long hand, every time you meet someone.
The design of your calling card can vary enormously in style and look. However, it should be easy to read and include a minimum of name, address and daytime phone numbers. It is also appropriate to include fax number, e-mail address, and mobile phone numbers.
Focus On Your Skills – Not Your Job
You'll notice that a job title is deliberately not included in the list. Although in principle there is nothing wrong with including it, it is much more useful to use the space under your name to describe what you do in a precise and concise way that is meaningful to anybody that you meet. Words like designer of roads and bridges or seller of land and property are much better than engineer or sales consultant.
Don't forget, this is the information that helps others to know what skills you have or what you might offer. Hence ‘Secretary’, for example, is unlikely to be useful in itself, but ‘Expert in word processing and desktop publishing’ says a lot more.