First impressions matter. Call me old school, but one of the things that forms a good first impression, for me, is the use of name cards.
In my current role, and ones that I have held in the past, I would often need to meet new people and many would apologise, sheepishly, for forgetting to bring their name cards. While that may not be a big deal for some, it is indeed a bummer for me.
(Disclaimer: My editor is often guilty of running out of name cards, and as such, guilty of apologising sheepishly, she says.)
And I am very much aware that in many countries name cards are often redundant. A one-time visit to any massive tech conferences will show how this matters. Why bother with name cards when you can whip out your mobile and make a connection on LinkedIn, many argue. Well, you are right.
But here’s why I prefer the old-fashioned name card exchange – even though I am often categorised as a tech/social-savvy Millennial.
In my opinion name cards add a personal touch and allow me to put a face and voice to a name in a way LinkedIn can’t replicate. Believe it or not, I take the process of curating them very seriously. I will always fork out time to ensure my name card holder is organised in alphabetical order.
Not only do the first names have to be in order, subsequent letters in the first name also have to be in sequence (James, Jane, Janice) – the neat freak in me just can’t help it. My name card holder is my “work baby” because it represents the amount of effort I make to network with people and strike conversations with them.
Show your creativity
Besides the personal touch, I feel that name cards are a way for companies to show their creativity and reinforce their identity. They are an extension of your brand and values. I remember sniggering when my university professor handed out his name card to the class, which came in the form of a coaster. “What? How do you even fit that into your pocket?” I thought.
“Some of you might laugh, but this is practical and people will use it. You want to make sure you leave an impression on the people you meet and this is how you do it, with a creative name card,” he said. True enough, I used his name card as a coaster and by the end of the week I had memorised all his work details. Years later, I still remember it clearly.
During my short time as a journalist, I also came across a translucent name card that fascinated me. Perhaps I’m easily impressed but let’s be honest, how often do you see a translucent name card? I must have played with it under the light for about five minutes before keeping it in my wallet.
On the Marketing magazine team, we are big on networking. There is a rite of passage every new journalist goes through. As a new journalist, for my first big event, I was handed a stack of name cards which I was expected to finish by the end of the night.
That same card holder then had to be filled with the cards of people you met. As daunting as it is for any new journalist, it is an excellent way to boost your confidence and enter any room and make the first move to network. And finishing that stack of cards is a moment of pride for all of us on the team!
So, while I can’t deny that technology is now an integral part of our lives, I do think some things are still better when done the traditional way. To sign off, all I have to say is, if you have a creative name card, please do share it with me.