When I first started out in Business Development many many years ago, my boss asked me to go to an international Conference and get “at least 30 name cards”. I was like, “Huh?” and I thought, “Whatever’s that for?”.
So, I went to the Conference and passed my name cards around hoping that they would do the same. “Hello! Here’s my name card”. I think I got well over 30 name cards, brought them back to the office and showed them to my boss. Then he asked me to get in touch with those people and introduce our company.
After a few years in the line, I finally understand to what purpose does name cards serves for. They are not just cards which we pass on to other people as a way of introducing ourselves. Name cards are our company brand.
By passing it around (to the correct people, of course), we are doing the company a favour in promoting its name, products and/or services. Hence, there is an ethic in how we should pass our name card to people. We can’t just hand them out like we are passing free movie tickets!
In a proper manner, we should approach the person, say “Hi”, extend a hand for a shake and tell him our name. Then we tell him from which company we are from. Extend the card with both hands and look them in the eye after they have taken the card.
In business, it is rude not to take someone’s name card when it is extended to us. Most likely, they will extend their own cards back to us. However, we can judge from the look in their eyes if they are interested to know more or not. Anyway, if they are not showing any interest, we should start the conversation. Just ask them which company they are from.
Then move on to other people.
Now, about the name cards.
The most important information that we must have on our name cards are the company name, the logo, our name in full, telephone number, our email address, the company address, telephone number and fax number. Some companies would print their website link on the name cards and their products and/or services at the back of the cards.
Name card designs depend on the company. However, a majority of companies would print it with dark letters on a white background. But there are others who want to be different, so they would print the cards in different colours.
Once, I was handed a name card printed on a black card. The lettering was in gold. It was quite impressive. Classic, I might say. Unfortunately, the letters were so small it was so difficult for me to even make out the company’s name!
A name card which is difficult to read defeats the purpose of having the name card in the first place.
My real name is very long. To some people, it can be quite a mouthful to say it, let alone spelling it. And because of the length, they had to print it in small fonts that make it difficult for people to read.
Therefore, I would omit my middle name and underline the name that I would prefer to be called. That way, it is easier for people to spell and pronounce.
Back to the purpose of the name cards.
After working with a few companies, I realised that not all staff would get a name card. Only those who are at the management level and those who frequently deal with customers are given name cards. This is only because name cards are created to serve a few purposes.
Firstly, name cards are meant for people to contact us easily. Hence, alternatively, it is called a ‘call card’.
Secondly, it is easier for people to spell our name correctly in their correspondences.
Thirdly, name cards are meant to promote the company brand.
Most of the time, when I handed over my name card, people would be delighted that I was representing the company. That was because the company’s brand name is already established in this region and they are delighted to meet one of the staff members.
What we carry was not just a card with our name printed on it. We are carrying the goodwill of the company that we represented. Having said that, and as mentioned earlier, we must follow certain ethics in extending the name cards and portray a good self-image of ourselves in order to reflect on the goodwill of the company.
People may not remember what we said to them during the brief introduction, but they would certainly remember us when they look at the name card.
On the other hand, by extending our name cards to those who have never heard of our company before, we are helping the company to promote its brand and business to the market.
So, better make sure that you have sufficient name cards to pass around when you attend any event.