Viva La Business Cards

This last weekend, my business partners and I were at Big Omaha (one of the best business networking experiences of my life). Before we got to the Slowdown, we were eating dinner and discussing expectations and our excitement for the conference. Corey made a comment on how he doesn’t like our business cards; I then said that I think business cards in general are a waste. You see, I’ve been on this kick for striving towards minimalism and the reduction of stuff… I’ve never kept a business card. I transcribe the information and then throw them away. “I think we should just tell people to keep their business cards. Let’s connect with them on Twitter, as Twitter is a more personal and intimate way to connect than a piece of paper.” I said. Brian expressed some hesitancy, as he feared that some would be offended. I conceded that that may be an issue. Our general consensus was to just do it anyway and gauge people’s reaction.

We arrived at the Slowdown. We started networking immediately. The inevitable came. “Hey man, it was great to meet you… let me give you my card.” Me: “Ya… ugghhh… umm.. OK.” I didn’t have the balls to do it. As I kept ingesting the liquid courage, I was finally able to say to tell people my new found revelation of business card wastefulness. “No dude, keep your business card. I’ll end up throwing it away anyways. Let’s connect on Twitter.” Them: “ummm… OK, sure I guess.” I got the sense that most people were offended by that statement. I realized that my delivery was insensitive. I figured that if I tuned it to a more diplomatic approach then I might get a different reaction.

The next night at the Nomad as the inevitable statement came out “Let me give you…” I then presented my grand metaphor on how business cards are like the horse & buggy and Twitter was like the car, as if I was some business networking pioneer. Some people saw my point of view, most didn’t. Worse, people were still offended. I’m sure some thought I was full of shit or even a bit arrogant. I bombed it bad. I was trying to transition our great conversations onto an internet medium. It was tougher than I expected.

I reflected upon this. I couldn’t quite figure out why people didn’t quite see my point of view. Ya, there was a bit of friction when you have to open up your Twitter client and type in someone’s Twitter name right in front of them when they could have easily handed you a card. Coincidentally, Today I read the article Sometimes Five Seconds Is All It Takes. Todd Smith Quotes Mark Jeffries:

In this interview Mark said, “You have to make the other person feel great about their communication with you.  Don’t put someone’s business card in your pocket.  They are handing you a little life story.  If you don’t take a moment to look at the card, acknowledge it and say something about it, you are missing a huge opportunity to tilt the scales in your favor.  This is one differentiator point, but it could be all you need to get into positive territory.”

It hit me. It didn’t matter how I said it. I rejected people’s life story.

Viva La Business Cards

You can follow me on Twitter @jprichardson



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