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Localization manager/translator and coach/intercultural consultant living in Berlin (Germany), passionate about diversity management and intercultural communication, self-awareness and coaching, SFBT and NVC, languages, cultures, body art, dancing, self-empowerment, and, last but not least, vegan gluten-free keto food and good movies. How about you?
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I'm the only person responsible for its content and the views and opinions expressed here are solely mines.
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Monday, October 16, 2017

Five reasons why you should have a business card, or where's the difference between Mark Zuckerberg and Rumplestiltskin

He looks at me and he smiles, with dashing white teeth and big blue eyes, and then he says casually: "Business card? I don't need one any longer".

Well, darling.
For sure you have dashing white teeth and big blue eyes, but still.
Sure, one can find you on LinkedIn and even add you on the spot, while using the very useful LinkedIn app available for Android and for iOS.
If they are not on LinkedIn, they can still google you, I get it.

[A very fancy purple business card 
with golden lettering and deluxe texture.
You don't have to go that big. Still, go get one, pal]

Of course, there is a but.
Actually, there are at least five of them, if you ask me.
And it may surprise you, but it is also a matter of intercultural sensitivity.
If you are not Jeff Bezos or Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk or [put some world famous big dog here], I bet that you could need one sooner or later, not only for branding reasons, but also just in order not to look like someone who, at any point:

#1. didn't do their homework and they are not ready;
If you are ready, you don't have to get ready, they say.
In life, you will never know when and how and why a business card could make the difference between making a great first impression and being perceived like an amateur.
Having a business card at hand can be useful in just so many occasions and it is also a clear sign that you are enough serious about your business to have business cards available if they are needed.

[Unusual business cards show that you took the time
to go for extraordinary and to go the extra mile] 

#2. are lazy while networking or don't take networking seriously in the first place;
Not having a business card during a networking event is a huge no-no and in most cases a red flag for people around you.
If you don't have one at all or you don't carry them with you during such an event, people could ask themselves if you would follow up in any case and if you are really interested in making new connections. They could also wonder if you are a newbie or someone that usually doesn't get asked for their business card: not the impression you want to make, right?

#3. are very arrogant and self-absorbed and entitled and full of themselves and... (I guess you got the point by now);
I remember attending a lecture last year, where a middle-level entrepreneur (I never heard of just one week before...) gave a very moving speech all about humility, simplicity, being down-to-earth and about the importance of treating everybody in the same way.
He got a standing ovation, everyone was pleased with him and his friendliness, yet only five minutes after the talk, as soon as someone asked him for his business card, in order to connect, he looked at them as repulsed as he would have been if a fairytale witch would have asked for his first newborn and said "People like me don't need a business card".
Just don't be that guy. Period.

[Someone asking for your business card 
is neither Rapunzel's witch nor Rumplestiltskin:
She's just someone asking to connect with you...
Image credit: Grimm's Fairy Tales" illustrated by Anne Anderson (1922)]

#4. have no clue about intercultural communication;
In most cultures, and in the vast majority of sub-cultures where following the traditions is considered high value behavior, exchanging business cards (or whatever is similar to a business card, for that matter) is perceived as a sign or trust, respect, mutual appreciation and, last but not least, professionalism and accountability.
Even if you think that a business card is a thing of the past, not taking into account that not everybody will share your view and that people with a different background could be surprised and even offended, can be seen as a lack of intercultural/cross-cultural skills.
Again, don't be that guy.

#5. are missing out from a branding point of view;
A good business card is an incredibly effective storytelling tool that you can use for your personal and professional branding strategy: it can help you to stand out, to be unforgettable, to show your personality and your uniqueness, to obtain a further chance to go on with your pitch, and so much more.
Not having a business card means missing out on the chance of telling your story every time that you could give one card to someone... and yet you have none!

Besides all this...
Choosing the right business card can be absolutely fun, can save you and the people you want to connect with time and a lot of mistakes, and it can become per se a very good story people can talk about, either with you or without you.
Just ask Mark Zuckerberg:

[Yes, this is a real business card.
With a very funny story indeed.
Something unforgettable, don't you think?]

Tags: Tags: Human interactions, Communication, Networking, Business card, Intercultural communication

What to read next:
Communication checklist for every day: a simple and clear 3-item checklist one should check off before contacting friends, loved ones, acquaintances and colleagues

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