Are Business Cards Dead?

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Remember the Rolodex?  It was a handy contraption shaped like a Ferris Wheel full of business cards.  You could spend an entire day at the office spinning the Rolodex around.  The Rolodex is sort of a collector’s item these days.  The spinning wheel has been replaced by the virtual Rolodex.  Now we just enter a name, city, phone number, company or other information all hiding under the “contacts” button or in LinkedIn or in an app.  A mobile app on a phone can hold what a thousand Rolodex wheels could hold.

But the Rolodex had lots of virtues not to be found through technology.  It was easy to use, required no power source, and could conjure up memories based on the spaghetti sauce stains on the card.  (Oh yeah, I remember him, we went to lunch at that Italian place around the corner.)  Most importantly, the Rolodex provided a handy place to put all the business cards one could collect.  It was like a business card display case for all of our varied relationships.

Along with the Rolodex, business cards themselves can seem old fashioned.  But everyone still carries them and uses them.  Or most people do.  Some think carrying a card is like carrying a big old calendar.  So how do they exchange information?  They promise to send an email with their contact information.  The email doesn’t usually show.  So instead, they write their coordinates on a yellow stickie or on a napkin which is quickly lost or sent through the washing machine.  So either the email is not sent or the info is lost and so is the potential relationship.

Business cards still work.  They are efficient, easy to carry and easily exchanged.  You can take a photo of the card later and enter the data into the contact list.  The card shows a little about you and your brand and your website all in a piece of cardboard that is tiny.  The card does not need to be fancy or a piece of origami.  It does show that you want to build relationships and you want people to know how to reach you.  You might get to a place in your career where you don’t need a card.  I doubt that Pope Francis or Paul McCartney carry cards.  Until you reach that status, carry a card.  Being out there in the workplace without a business card is like being in the Wild West without a horse.

What you choose to do with collected cards after the information is entered into a database is up to you.   At that point it doesn’t matter.  You can even put them in the Rolodex you privately keep under your desk and spin it around now and again.  Your card is just another little part of your brand.  Why make it hard for any one to reach you?

Always be ready when the question is posed, “Do you have a card?”

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