Three Reflections on the Tao of Business Cards

My New Run of Business Cards From

In a recent post, I tried to compile some strategies for students to maximize their networking opportunities in the hope of gainful employment.  One of the things I advised them to do was to have their own business cards to give to people they meet.

Though it seems like a superficial practice, the act of preparing one’s own business cards can be an important opportunity for reflection and self-realization.  They’re not just for other people – they’re also for ourselves.

No, I’m not kidding.  Here’s why:

  • They have Limited Space: It’s easy to describe oneself if given all the space in the world to do so.  Portfolios, resumes, blogs, Facebook profiles – all give us virtually limitless opportunity to cram words and other media together to exhaustively describe ourselves.  What is truly a challenge is summing ourselves up in the space of a sentence (or better yet, a job title).  Especially today, when we’re all expected to be generalists who can wear virtually any hat, there is value in being able to focus on a singular goal as you’re moving through life.
  • They are our Public Self: Like other forms of print communication, they’ve been around for hundreds of years and we’ve developed a cultural attachment to them.  They’re part of pop culture.  They’re an important part of social ritual.  We understand the gravity that they carry – so we labor over them to present the best we have to offer.
  • They are Finite:  Though they endure longer than, say, a tweet – they do run out eventually.  This gives us an opportunity for renewal as we triangulate our identity between the past, the present, and what we aspire to be in the future.  I start to get giddy as I run out of business cards because I know I get to do a new run; it’s a new opportunity to be creative and have fun.
I felt all of those things while working on my latest run of business cards (below).  They’re half-size from (which I love) and I picked them up from a Klout perk (disclosure).

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I’m all about digital, but there’s something about the feel of a well-printed business card that is appealing.  I have them tacked up all over the walls of my office even though I have the contact information of all of their owners in my phone.
One of the things I love about the cards Moo lets you run is that they allow you to add a different image to the back of each card at no cost, which is a spectacular opportunity to get creative and be memorable.  For example; photographers take the opportunity to put an individual shot on each one of their cards and then individually select the image/card they give to each person.

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