Get a Business Card and Use it Effectively

CYN_BusinessCard

By Chelsea Luthy, Central Nebraska Community Development Specialist, and CYN Steering Team Member

 

Let’s talk about business cards—and how to network effectively with them.

First off, networking is interacting with another person. I commonly think of networking as a face-to-face interaction with someone you most likely don’t know. It is a way to create a link between you and that other person. A business card is a professional way of sharing printed contact information with that new connection.

We have all heard about the importance of making first impressions. While I believe a smile, eye contact, and a firm handshake are at the top of the list, a business card can easily create an impression. Don’t have any business cards? Did you forget your cards? That is saying something. Does your card consist only of words and nothing extra? Is it completely black and white? That says something also. What if all your coworkers use the same outline and only substitute their name and e-mail address? How easy is it to read the font or text style?

 

Let’s talk formatting and layout.

The standard size of a business card is 2 by 3.5 inches and printed on some type of premium paper. Business card layouts vary widely and numerous templates are available to use or gain inspiration from. At minimum, yours should include a name, address, phone number and e-mail address. It is also recommended to include a position or title, company or organization and a website if you have one. Including a fax number or multiple phone numbers such as any combination of work, mobile or home number is a personal preference. Basically, business cards should contain all of your pertinent contact information. If information is not current, then updating it immediately is a must! Please don’t “use up” the old cards or strike out and handwrite new information!

The entire layout does not need to be text. It is acceptable to show a little personality with your business cards and add some color or an image. On the other hand, too much activity can be distracting or costly to print. Tip: A business card has a front side and a back side – use both! Also, switching cards from horizontal to vertical is another way to make a card unique. Just remember, these can become a challenge to print yourself. In my opinion, printing your own business cards is just as effective as ordering them from a company or online. If you do print your own, I recommend changing your paper type and ink output in printer settings to reflect the quality of cards you desire. Ordering them online can be less hassle and it may be faster.

 

When should I whip out my business card?

There are multiple ways that you can make your business card work for you. Hand a card to someone you are just meeting. Use a card to remind someone you met previously about who you are, but didn’t get a chance to talk to in depth.

My personal favorite: when you hand out a card give them two instead. It’s common for the recipient to acknowledge that they must have received two by mistake, but let them know that the second is for them to share with a friend. This is a way to continue networking through others even when you aren’t present!

Use your business cards in a group setting or give one to a speaker at a conference. Exchanging business cards doesn’t just have to take place in face-to-face situations. Send your card in the mail with a thank you note, clip it to a press packet or place it on a table with printed materials and other business contact information.

 

Someone gave me a business card—now what?

On the flip side, what should you do with the business cards you receive? Personally, I keep them all together in my desk. I write something short on the back of each card as I accumulate them.

I am a visual learner so it can be challenging to pair faces and names of new acquaintances. For example, each business card has a date, the location where we met and something memorable about the encounter. For some people, visiting and meeting new people is outside of their comfort zone.

I use business cards as a gauge and reminder to always keep meeting new faces and focus on building relationships. Do you have any thoughts on business cards and networking? If so, I’d love to hear from you on our Facebook page.

 


 

Chelsea Luthy

Chelsea Luthy

Community Development Specialist | Central Nebraska Economic Development District
Join Chelsea on LinkedIn

Chelsea Luthy is the Community Development Specialist for Central Nebraska Economic Development District (CNEDD). She grew up in Cody, Neb., and graduated from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. She hopes to share her love for community improvement through Connecting Young Nebraskans (CYN) and influence her peers to continue making a difference in our work. She believes that CYN is about motivating our young people, facilitating progress within our local community and how that creates additional impacts, and a way to bounce ideas off other like-minded leaders all for the betterment of our state.

 


 

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