Over the years I have done business, I have collected business cards effortlessly and at a very fast rate. Why are we so obsessed with having and giving out business cards I wonder…
The strange thing is we are very committed to carry and always dish out cards to folks we meet yet we know (or now we know) that most of the cards we give out end up in the dustbin. There are times I have looked at cards in my car and I can’t remember who gave them to me.
Another interesting observation is how fancy, cards look like nowadays. All sorts of new designs, colours and shapes. The thing that has amused me is the titles on those cards. Gone are the days of titles like marketing manager. It’s now team leader – marketing, business unit head and so forth. I even have a pal whose card reads chief rainmaker. Mmmm I wonder why I never got into the business of printing cards. You snooze you lose.
I see it often in golfing circles where we (mostly guys in corporate) are quick to flash out cards to impress people we meet (at least that’s how it appears). I suppose it’s expected, especially seeing that men are defined by what they do.
Why am I going on and on about business cards you may wonder. Today I spread out all the cards I have had since I started business as an adult (first business was in primary school). I realised this cards defined who I was and that gave me credibility. Giving out a card felt like giving my CV so as to validate myself and gain acceptance plus feel important of course. For the last 3 years I have tried making cards to describe who I want to be not what I am and I’ve ended up frustrated (yet making some printer people happy as I pay them). Remember confusion moved in like a rela from shags.
I feel so liberated today at not having a business card that describes me in this space and the pressure to have one has miraculously disappeared. It will come in its own time. I remember attending a BNI (Business Network International) conference once and the speaker challenged us to hold back from giving out our cards when we meet people for the first time. Just give them a chance to say what they feel like to you and accept it without soliciting for business. It makes so much sense now because I want to just know someone as they are and not box them into a title or company / profession. That’s the real introduction. Even just sharing a light moment and moving on is ok. We may or may not meet again and that’s fine. Guess that’s what they call abundance mentality.
Yesterday I was having coffee with a very inspiring friend (read we both confused and accepting it) and as we chatted a lady in the next table just turned to us and admitted to eavesdropping. She told us what she does and said she could use my friend’s services. No business cards upfront or intro and boom, there’s kazi. I realised then that the most powerful business card is a self-aware individual. Besides its rather difficult to throw a six foot (me) live business card into the bin…..
Maybe at 40 a business card is too small to fit ones description. And that’s just fine.