There are two camps these days. Business cards or no business cards. Some people would rather just pull out their phone and add you on LinkedIn right away.
When looking at my first 900 LinkedIn contacts I could tell you exactly how I met all but about 20 of the people. Do you know why? Because I actually met them! Real and in person… And was handed their business card on which I wrote how/where I met them. Sometimes I even wrote a further note about our conversation or interaction.
Writing that down, seeing the logo, seeing their name? It all helps our brains process the experience — here’s some research on that. And, yes, I said experience. For me, meeting people face-to-face is an experience.
Business Cards Tell Stories
In going through what appears to be one of the many Covid rituals of cleaning out a closet, I found a bag of treasures. These treasures don’t all tell complete stories, but many of them do.
Let me tell you about Linda.
When I met Linda I was working in sales for AV Concepts, and I had the opportunity to attend the PCMA Leadership Conference in Austin, TX. I reached out to her in advance of the event, and she agreed to meet me for a drink… We became instant friends. We both had “business to do” for our respective jobs (she on her association’s planning team with AASA), which may or may not have resulted in business, but it didn’t matter. I saw her in person a few times after that — one of which was when she and her (and now my) friend Kim stayed in my home on a mini vacation in San Diego.
Linda’s life was then cut way too short, suddenly — before she had even turned 30. She would have had a birthday today, and yet she’s been gone for nine years. Unreal. Finding her business card in this bag took me back to that night in Austin – what a gift!
Put the Social in Social Media
Let me be clear – I am a marketer! This isn’t to say there’s no value in going ahead and connecting with people on LinkedIn, but I typically don’t have a story with these people who reach out to me out of the blue.
I admit to having a bevy of people who are in what I call “purgatory” because they didn’t give me a valid business reason to connect.
It boils down to this: I’m not “collecting” people. I am collecting stories. I am collecting valuable relationships that might help me in my business pursuits, but I’m hoping they’ll also help me as a human, and add value to my life… and me theirs.
Human Connections Matter
Remember that – we’re all humans, not just business people.
I look forward to the day when I get to meet new people again in person (post-Covid19). And I look forward to receiving their business cards, and creating more stories. Developing more new connections, and nurturing the ones I already have, are things I yearn for.
This experience of receiving a business card is more than a transaction. This experience could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. It might even be one that ends way way way sooner than it should. But still so valuable nonetheless.
It could be the beginning of a rich AND profitable collaboration.
As I leave an event with a pocketful of business cards, I’m leaving with a pocket FULL of stories. These stories might be brief or they might continue for years… But they will always leave an impression.
Business cards are more than a little piece of paper. They have a story to tell.
What do you think? Do you still give and get business cards? What stories do they tell YOU?