Business Cards and Calling Cards

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By Cynthia Simmons

(My thought is that some people don’t pay enough attention to their business cards and confuse them with calling cards. They don’t put keywords, indicate value-added, or use self-branding on their business cards.)

From when I was a child, I remember the three years my family lived in South Carolina and there was a silver calling card tray on a table by the front door. The tray was elegantly oval and embellished, flat with a raised serpentine lip, engraved at the center with a large formal S in script font. My mother kept calling cards from visitors in it.

So, I’ve always known about calling cards.

Later, when I grew up and went to work, one of my goals was to have a business card. I did accomplish that goal, as have most of us.

But now, when people hand me their cards as part of a business introduction, I feel sad if I am given a calling card. Because a calling card only has someone’s name and contact information. It doesn’t indicate profession, affiliation, service, or any of the details that make a brand. It’s as if someone were saying—Hire me!—but they won’t tell me what they do.

The world has gotten much bigger, with much more of everything. Now just your name is not enough.

A business card that is well-conceived, designed, and written can have your resume’s essence, “You” distilled into what is most salient about you professionally.

To get down to business, a business card should be deliberate, include keywords, and say what you can do for the world in direct, succinct language. And you may want to include a tagline to market yourself. A business card is perhaps your smallest marketing tool and surely the one most easily shared.



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