During a recent Strategic Networking session at the Central Library, the hot topic was business card strategies. But that begged the question: Are they still effective and relevant?
Even amidst the growth of social media and apps, the consensus seems to be that they still hold value. In his recent Mashable post, Todd Wasserman maintains that paper isn't dead and still holds a vital role. For example, even with iPhone apps such as CardMunch that effectively digitize cards and save the information as a contact, the print business card still needs to be used.
A more valuable discussion might be how to capitalize on the use of the card. Ann Handley, in her great article in Entrepreneur, argues that cards are still a "vital part of the business landscape", especially if social networking links are employed, along with strong visuals and unique content. She even suggests ditching boring content such as your full street address, when your City will suffice.
Some authors have suggested controversial methods, such as including a picture that would match your professional photo on LinkedIn. In his article 10 Features of a Memorable Business Card, Brent Peterson adds that it's worth spending the extra money on color fonts. Business cards that stick in my mind are those where key competencies listed on the back side, a mini resume of sorts. The bottom line: make the card a personal and memorable reflection of who you are.
It seems they are here to stay, at least for now. I recently talked with a very tech savvy, young, IPhone toting colleague who surprised me with her penchant for business cards. She explained that to her, the exchange of business cards is still a valuable and memorable networking ritual. She noted that they are a tangible reminder of the person and transaction, not just data that lives in her phone. Ditto.