Wednesday, June 17, 2009

job search notes: Christine's view on your business card

The Reluctant Networker's Guide to Business Cards
by Christine Kane

No one in history resisted business cards more than me.

I didn't see the need for them. After all, I have CD's. I have a website. Isn't that enough?

Maybe you have your own good reasons for not needing or wanting to have a business card. But hear me out!

As I'm invited to more big events each year, I'm realizing something:

A business card makes you findable. It's one more avenue for connection and outreach.

So, let's say 25 of the 35 people you give your card to toss it out. But what if those other 10 people keep it and remember you? Maybe they decide to subscribe to your blog, or call you about your web design. Remember, it takes multiple avenues to create business connections and income streams.

And yes, that's true even if you're an artist with a website.

So, if you are a reluctant networker like me, here are ten simple tips for basic business card networking...

1 - Listen first

Always remember that the human is more important than the card. Listen when someone speaks to you. Be present to the conversation before reaching into your pocket or purse to shove your card at someone.

2 - Write notes on the back

When you're at a conference collecting lots of cards, you might soon forget the amazing connection you had with someone at lunch. Even if it seems like you could never forget her fabulous taste in clothing or her sparkly eyes, take a second to write on the back of her business card: "Cool jacket, funny laugh. Talked about our dogs. Her dog's name: Charlie." Write it in your own language. Make it brief. Believe me, this works.

3 - Your radiant face

Some people can't stand the idea of using their own photo on their card. It can seem vain.

However, photos work. Photos help you remember the person! Women, especially, remember faces and expressions and will appreciate the extra touch!

4 - One-sided cards

Some cards suffer from TMI Syndrome. Too Much Information! This actually works against you for 2 reasons:

1. Most people don't read all that tiny writing. That's what websites are for - all that extra stuff.

2. When there's writing all over the front and back, there's no room for notes!

5 - Offer a Freebie on the back

If you do choose to put text on the back of your card, try offering a link to a freebie - like a download of your eBook.

6 - Don't get your card made at the nail salon

Is it me? Or do some business cards seem to have a layer of acrylic on them that would make a Jersey manicurist stand up and cheer?

There's just no way to write any notes on these cards! At one point, I found myself carving a note in one of these high gloss cards with the tang on my fork. These cards are often lovely, yes. They're just not practical.

7 - Be discerning

Some people hand out their card like it's Halloween candy. But think about it. Not everyone connects with what you do! It diminishes your authenticity when you randomly hand your card to everyone. Sometimes it's good to ask permission. "Can we exchange cards? I'd like to contact you next week about that."

8 - Keep your card updated

Handing people your card while saying, "Oh wait! That's my old phone number!" Or crossing out an email address. Or writing in a new website address.

This'll make you look like...well, let's be honest...a musician!

9 - Their Card does not equal Your New Subscriber

When someone gives you their card, they're saying, "Let's connect."

They're not saying, "Oh please put me on your mailing list that you send out to your fans, readers and family!"

Honor their trust. Many musicians have put me on their list just because we performed together once. Even if I liked their music, I always felt a little slimed. Don't assume that anyone wants to be on your newsletter list. Always ask first.

10 - Start a database.

If you make a connection, keep that person in a special database. Even if you don't have your own business yet, you never know when you'll want to connect again, or if you have some exciting news to share. ("Hey everyone, I wrote my first book!")

Some of these people will become your cheering section, or even your fans! If you do start a monthly eZine, you can ask people if they want to subscribe. But in the meantime, just begin collecting the names of people you meet. Don't forget to type in the notes you made!



WANT TO USE THIS ARTICLE IN YOUR E-ZINE OR WEB SITE?

Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:

Performer, songwriter, and creativity consultant Christine Kane publishes her 'LiveCreative' weekly ezine with more than 4,000 subscribers. If you want to be the artist of your life and create authentic and lasting success, you can sign up for a FRE*E subscription to LiveCreative at www.christinekane.com.

WANT TO SEE HUNDREDS MORE ARTICLES LIKE THIS ONE?
See Christine's blog - Be Creative. Be Conscious. Be Courageous - at ChristineKane.com/blog.