“I can’t remember who you are. I’m sorry.” Is that what you say when you stare at the deck of business cards that you have acquired throughout the years?
I want to show you an affordable way to make your business card memorable!
A couple of years back I going through a deck of business and was wondering if its owner could remember which card belonged to whom. Do you remember who is Mr John Doe that gave you his card 8 years ago? Oh, you got lucky enough to meet 2 Mr John Doe’s in the span of 8 years, can you tell who is who?
These days business cards take many forms, a lot of people take different approaches to ensure that theirs is memorable. For example, someone might add a small gift along with their business card to hopefully leave a lasting impression. These things cost a lot. Printing the card itself comes with a cost, how can I do that in an affordable way? How can I do it in a more eco-friendly and minimalistic way in order to reduce waste? That was a question I asked myself in 2016. Fast-forward in 2017 I found the answer I was looking for, and I decided to share it with you!
“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever. ” – Native American Proverb
Who is this for?
Before we get started I believe it is important to state who will benefit from this. This technique will benefit people who use a personal business card, meaning a business card with your own name and details. It is especially helpful for people that go to meetups, networking events, conferences, or any other large gatherings.
What is the caveat?
- It can be time-consuming but it definitely pays off in the long term.
- You need to have a legible handwriting.
- It might not be well received in certain countries so make sure you check the business etiquette of the country. It was brought to my attention by a comment that in Japan, for example, it can be considered an insult if you write on a business card. I have sought clarification on if it is equally bad if you write on your own card, for that, I am not sure as online it stated only about writing on someone else’s card in front of them, which makes sense. However, it is good to be cautious. This case could be a similar thing in China as well (based on some resources found online). I researched that and found this information about Japan online which I will quote shortly. Be aware though that in certain countries aside from how the business card looks, how you receive it is equally important, so make sure you do your research when travelling to a country that is foreign to you or you are offering a business card to a foreign national:
“Do not write on the Japanese business cards. The best thing to do is examine the Japanese business cards carefully and leave them in front of you for the duration of the meeting. You may want to arrange the cards in front of you in the order of the participants seating positions, this will help you remember everyone’s name.”
What is the process of designing that business card?
The process of designing an appealing business card could fit an article of its own. I will assume you have designed the front side of it to keep this tutorial short.
Initial Must-Do Preparation
One thing that should definitely be on the front side of your Business card is a link to your LinkedIn profile or some sort of personal website that has your picture on it. Aside from allowing the person whom you gave your card to connect with you, if you gave them a link to your LinkedIn, it helps them remember your face. Being able to remember your face is one of the things that helps makes this whole process much more effective.
Mini Business Card Tutorial
So you have a business card, with a link to your LinkedIn or personal website (something that has your picture on it). Perfect!
We are going to work on the back side of the card. As I said earlier, remember we are assuming the front side of your double sided business card has already been completed. Let’s get started! It won’t take long!
- I’m starting with a clear canvas in the dimension of a business card.
2. I want to make it a bit more impressive so I will put a black background with a subtle zigzag pattern. You don’t need to make yours exactly like this, but this is a sample for the purposes of the tutorial.
3. To make the next steps easier, I am adding a white overlay on the dark background, as you can see below.
4. Now I add 3 statements, some space, graphics, and lines.
Additional Key Point based on a comment I received on LinkedIn:
You need to keep the back side of your business card uncoated, to ensure you can write on the side that you need to, there are several options. I personally suggest you gloss the front side (if you want your card to look more visually appealing) and keep the back side uncoated/matte. You can keep the whole card matte as well. Do as you please.
Why does it work?
The answer is simple. This works because it uses the power of storytelling. Storytelling helps boost retention through various of ways. By filling in the statements, We met at, We spoke about and Keep in touch for, you are creating a story.
Dr Jennifer Aacker, a General Atlantic Professor of Marketing at Stanford Graduate School of Business, once said that a story is nearly 22 times more memorable than facts alone. In addition to that when you share a story, studies show that people are more likely to remember the message, be persuaded by it and feel personally connected to it.
How can you use it Effectively?
Prior to going to the event, you plan to go to you can fill in the “We met at” statement in order to save time. Fill in as many cards as the people you intend to give your card to. Do not forget to keep your handwriting legible. If you are unsure on if you plan to give your card to anyone then leave it blank and fill it before you give it away.
Once you get to your destination there are two things you can do:
- Give the card as is and allow the person to fill in those parts (which much be too much work for them to do.)
- You fill it in right on spot after completing your conversation with them. This is the best choice.
Another way you can use it in order to save time is to have a regular version of your business card and several copies of the version shown in this article. You can give this version to people whom you really want to create a professional or personal memorable connection with.
How did you come up with this idea?
I came up with this idea while I was tidying up some items in my room. I found a swag bag I got at a conference in 2015. In that bag, it had this card which served as an inspiration for this idea.
When the person you hand this card to sees it, they will see your name, then turn the back and see where you met at, what you spoke about. They might then move on to check your website or LinkedIn if they want to remind themselves about how you look like. Those things will help make it easier for them to retain who you are. In addition to that, whenever they decide to contact you back, it will be easier for them to find something to talk about because they can bring up the past conversation you had.
If you like this concept, take your time to play around with it and come up with your own version of it. Once you fill in your card it should look quite similar to this:
Now this quote probably makes a lot more sense:
“Tell me the facts and I’ll learn. Tell me the truth and I’ll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.” – Native American Proverb
Do you use a business card? If yes, how often do you use it? If no, what is your way of staying in touch with others? Comment below!