The Power of Business Cards

It may come as a surprise that, in today’s highly digitized world, business cards are still highly useful networking tools. A good card is like a good suit or even an office: it’s not necessary in the strictest sense of the word, but it signals to other professionals that you’re the genuine article. Your business cards should be an extension of your professional persona, one that reminds the holder of why they got your information in the first place. When tailored to your personal brand, they can be a gateway for professional opportunities. For such small pieces of paper, business cards carry a lot of weight. Here are some tips to help you get the right print.

Don’t Skimp on the Stock

One of the easiest ways a print shop can make business cards more affordable is by reducing the thickness, or stock, of the paper used. While fiscal responsibility is always an important principle in business, this is one area where you shouldn’t cut corners. It’s more than a piece of paper; it’s a lasting reminder of that first impression. A flimsy piece of paper sends the signal that the professional it represents is flimsy, too. You want to convey success with your card, even if you’re just getting started.

Size Matters

The standard size is 2 inches by 3.5 inches-stick with that. A lot of people these days are trying to reinvent the wheel when it comes to size and shape, making pieces that are bigger, smaller, circular, etc. While these might be memorable, they’re also likely to get cut if they don’t fit neatly into a wallet or holder.

Include a Visual Cue

Your card should remind the holder of who you are and link back to some memory of where and why they got your info. If you or your company has a pattern or color scheme, incorporate that. If you are in a business where you trade on your personality (salesmen, attorneys, realtors, etc.), it’s a good idea to include a photo of your smiling face in order to convey the winning personality that has made you a success!

Keep it Simple

Even with a photo or color scheme that serves as a visual cue, don’t over-complicate things. Your business cards represent you; they don’t speak for you. You don’t want something that requires people to search for the information they need. Ultimately, the information should be quick and accessible so that the holder can contact you, not get caught up in the paper.

Raised Text

This one is optional and, admittedly, a bit more expensive. But it’s worth it in certain contexts. If you attend networking events where people trade their info left and right, something that stands out sensually can make a huge difference. If a potential client has 20-plus cards, the feeling of that raised text as they leaf through could make the difference between a connection and the recycling bin.

The 10 Commandments Of Networking

As a business owner, networking will be one of the keys to your success. People still like to do business with people, and so your network will translate into your net worth, which is why it’s so important to follow the 10 Commandments of Networking.

I was at a seminar this afternoon, and one of the presenters shared this list of the 10 commandments of networking with us, and I thought you would appreciate knowing them too.

Here are the 10 Commandments Of Networking

10. Partner up with people who you can trust and who complement your skill set and strengths.

You’ve heard the saying that you become the average of the 5 people you associate most with, so make an effort to associate with people who believe in your dreams and can help you achieve them. Another great rule of thumb to remember is that if you’re the smartest person in the room, it’s time to look for a new room!

Always be seeking out mentorship and association with people who can help you raise your game and achieve new levels. If your current network is the gossip group that likes to hang out at the local cafe and talk about what the neighbours are doing, or rehash the evening news, then I’d encourage you to find a new group. That atmosphere will only drag you down or keep you stuck in your current reality. Find a group instead that’s doing great things, and working on new projects that will inspire and motivate you to do big things as well.

9. The power of vision and hope.

I’m not a particularly religious person, but I’ve heard this expression enough times to know that it’s from the Bible. Perhaps you’ve heard it too.

“Where there is no vision, the people perish”

Having a vision – which is a precisely defined goal with a detailed plan for achieving it and a deadline for it’s attainment is what will keep you on track when life throws you for a loop. We all face challenges at times, and it’s having a clear vision of where we’re going and the hope or belief that we’ll get there that keeps us moving forward even through the hard times.

Without that vision, you’ll fall back into old habits and routines and you’ll never attract a tribe without a vision. People are looking for leadership, and people with a vision of where they’re going tend to attract followers.

8. Use effective communication

Communication is everything. Without it we can’t function. People who become master communicators become top earners as a result, and it doesn’t mean you need to know all the jargon and big words and can dazzle everyone with your mastery of the language.

Quite the opposite actually. Great communicators are people who speak in a way that engages other people rather than talk over them. Great communicators are EXCELLENT LISTENERS! Effective communicators are problem solvers and let the other person do most of the talking while they listen and look for ways to help them.

The saying goes that you have two ears and one mouth, and should use them in direct proportion. An effective communicator will listen more than they talk, because they know they can’t learn anything new when they’re talking. They only learn when they’re listening.

7. Learn people’s names and use them. People love hearing the sound of their own name.

How many times have you met someone and forgotten their name the split second after they said it? I know I have more times than I care to mention.

Now, at the same time, when was the last time someone came up to you and said hi to you and remembered your name, while you didn’t have a clue who they were. How did you feel? Probably pretty embarrassed that they remembered you, but you didn’t remember them.

Did it also make you feel like that person valued your first meeting more than you? I always feel a level of respect from someone when they remember my name, and have a little less respect for someone who doesn’t. Not that they’re any better than anyone else, just that they’ve demonstrated that they care enough about me to remember my name, and that increases my trust level in them. And we all know that people do business with someone that they know, like and trust.

Get good at learning and remembering people’s names, and watch how much more business will come your way as a result of you showing others you care enough to address them by name each time you see them.

6. Demonstrate kindness

Something as simple as a smile will go a long ways. You’d be surprised how much you can gain by just smiling at people. It’s infectious, and if you can cause others to smile, you also brighten their day. If you can do that for someone having a hard day, not only do you become memorable, but they’ll want to reciprocate which may mean doing you favours like buying you a coffee, giving you free upgrades, granting you the contract etc.

Make it your goal to ask yourself how you can make the other person’s day better for every interaction you have.

5. Handle conflict and adversity with grace

It’s inevitable in life that you’re going to face conflict and adversity, especially as you start reaching higher levels of success. The key is to become the kind of person who can deal with it in a graceful way rather than let it take you out of the game.

Always strive to be the bigger person. As Jim Rohn says:

“Don’t wish it was easier, wish you were better”

As you grow as a person, the challenges you’ll be able to overcome will become bigger, but so will your ability to handle them. Strive to become the kind of person who can handle the biggest challenges with an attitude of “I can handle this too!”

4. Learn how to deal with criticism

Much like conflict and adversity, you’re also going to attract criticism the higher you climb. If you don’t have critics, you’re playing too small.

See criticism for what it is. First, consider the source. Is it coming from someone who’s just bitter and trying to tear you down, or is it coming from someone who has your best interest at heart, and trying to give you constructive feedback? If it’s the former, then either ignore it, or take Abraham Lincoln’s advice and understand that “the best way to destroy and enemy is to make him a friend.”

If it’s coming from someone you respect and look up to, then take that criticism as valuable feedback and look for the lesson in the message.

3. Control the power of your pride

Having pride in your work and accomplishments is healthy, as long as it doesn’t become bravado and egocentric. When someone becomes to driven by pride and ego they repel others, rather than draw them in. You will become a much more successful networker if you can replace your pride with humility.

To be truly successful in this industry you must surrender your pride and your ego, and learn from those around you who’ve created the kind of success you aspire to for yourself.

2. Practice daily exercise

You might be wondering what exercise has to do with networking, but I’d encourage you to have an open mind. First, by exercise, I don’t just mean physical exercise. Of course, that is important because without your health, nothing else much matters.

Daily exercise also means things like making time everyday for yourself. This includes things like reading, meditation or prayer, visualization and affirmations, listening to audio programs and learning.

All of these things are an important part of having a daily exercise. For me, these things are all part of my power hour first thing in the morning. Between 5:30 and 7:00 am I do a little exercise (can be as little as skipping rope for a few minutes), I read for 15-30 minutes, I do visualization or mediation work and I may plan my day.

Having a practice of daily exercise is key to maintaining a balance in your life.

1. The importance of setting the right example

All the 9 previous commandments of networking culminate in this final one. Everything else you’re doing to improve your networking is for the purpose of setting a great example. If you’re building a networking business, then you want to create duplication – and people will do what you do, not what you say!

If your life is completely out of balance and you’re trying to encourage others to join your business you’re either selling the dream and living the nightmare (which is lying to people) or you’re chasing people away because they can see that your life is a mess and they don’t want theirs to be the same.

For those of us who are parents, then this commandment is about becoming the best role model for our children to follow. They truly are sponges and are watching and learning far more than we realize.

My hope is you’ll take these 10 commandments of networking and apply them to your own life.

Become a master of even a few of them and your life will transform.