Is your business card a mystery novel?

This is an actual stack of biz cards that I collected.

It represents unrealized opportunities.

I recently unburied myself from all the business cards I’ve collected over the past few years. While filtering through the cards, two ~equally sized piles emerged. The first evolved into two categories of connections:

  1. People whom I’ve stayed connected with, and,
  2. People I see a potential future relationship

The latter is what I call “loose connections”. These are people I intend to stay connected with.

The second consisted of connections that did not evolve, I could not identify joint opportunities for us, nor did they. Any potential relationship has seemingly ended. Didn’t get to 2nd base.

But what does this mean? It’s not necessarily a bad thing, just reality of the networking world shaking hands around us.

While taking a second pass over the “did not evolve” stack, it became clear that many simply did not state the value of its owner, just name and coordinates, a mystery novel left for me to unravel.

How do you succinctly communicate your value prop on a biz card? How do you ensure that after the customary exchange of personal identifying rectangular coloured paper has long since past, that someone will actually remember you, what you do and what value you can provide?

Isn’t that what’s it all about?

What are my business card preferences? Beyond the mandatory name, company name & website, and email address, my preferences are:

  • Your twitter handle
  • Clean and easy to read.
  • A logo or style that resembles or embodies what value you provide.
  • LinkedIn URLs on the card if your profile is not easily identifiable (most people find me on LinkedIn by searching “stomphorst”), otherwise it’s clutter.
  • White space on your card so I can scribble notes on it. I need to write the date, location, and why & where we met. Dark cards or glossy cards that prohibit that.
  • Unique card stock size format.
  • I don’t need your street address or fax number.

One friend has a QR code on the back of their biz card, which takes you to a landing page that they can a) change the message as/when needed and b) track how many people arrived. The jury is still out on its effectiveness.

Through Silicon Halton I expect to gather about twice the amount of business cards over the next 2-3 years. How will you help me remember you? My job is connecting talent to employers, people to people, and business to business. I can help you if I clearly know who you are. Don’t write me a mystery novel.

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