This week, a client, told us that she met an interesting gentleman at a charity event (always a good venue for meeting someone because you have a shared interest). She enjoyed their conversation and as they were heading to their respective tables for dinner, he offered her his “card” which had his name and email only. Our client, looking forward to seeing him again, took out her own card and handed it to her new acquaintance. “Oh, this is your business card,” he said. “Here is mine.” He then added his business card to the personal card he first gave her.
Our client asked us, “Did I miss an opportunity here?” We suggested that she follow up with a friendly email, in any case, but this interchange became an important teaching moment.
We suggest to all our clients that they carry a personal card, a “calling card,” to use the antique term. This card needs only your name and email address. The usefulness of the card was highlighted in the example above. Offering your personal card can serve as a tangible reminder to someone you enjoy meeting at a party, at the airport waiting for a plane, or at a workshop that he (or she) will keep you in mind for herself or himself, or with a friend or acquaintance.
So, what’s wrong with a good, old-fashioned business card? What’s wrong is that keyword, business. A business card is like handing someone a mini-cv.
It sets up expectations and keeps you from focusing on yourself, on who you are, rather on what you do. Your calling card, on the other hand, can be personal and reflect your personal style. You can choose a favorite font, color, and even pick a graphic on one side – a piece of art, an image of a musical instrument, library books, gardens, a sports photo – anything you enjoy.
Keep this card with you whenever
you are out in the world. It could easily spark conversation and interest about who you are and about this new chapter in your life. Even if you are talking to someone who is married or in a relationship, use your card. Everyone knows or meets someone single. You don’t want him or her to say to a significant other, “I met this really interesting person today. Can’t quite remember his/her name because there were so many other people around.”
Rather, the conversation you hope for is, “I met this interesting person…. Oh, and she/he gave me this card. Can we think of someone single who might like to meet him/her?”
Networking is the key. And the key to networking is being able to take advantage of good opportunities. Your calling card can open more doors than you would imagine.