Why Business Cards Still Play a Pivotal Role in Today's Networking

Why has the simple 3.5x2” business card survived the digital age while companies like Borders, Tower Records, and other national chains closed their doors? It’s really amazing when you think about it. We went from these little paper cards, to beaming and bumping and then came the vCards. And while all of those still exist in some form, business cards are by far the best way to connect with someone personally and leave a great impression.

The big reason, in my opinion, would be that while we still have our unique websites and Powerpoint presentations, we still want something tangible to hold in our hands. More importantly, you are able to draw a number of conclusions about a person based on the paper used, the design, and the colors of the ink.

The are also great conversation starters. During the time it takes to fish your card out of its hiding place you have the unique opportunity to engage the person you are interacting with. They in turn have to take the time to receive the card and put it somewhere, all while talking about your respective businesses.

Compare that to a typical email exchange where you are making your introduction, but in today’s fast paced digital world the receiver has to quickly determine how to deal with this information. That usually results in a simple delete or a more organized person may move it to a separate folder that they may revisit at a later date. And while the physical exchange of business cards does not guarantee future contact, it doesn't give you something you can easily reference to a conversation you had in person.

The ritual of exchanging business cards has a very long history with some cards dating back 600 years ago to China! When I leave the office for any event, I always load up on business cards. Upon my return I stack my newly acquired cards next to my keyboard so I can send a follow up email to stay fresh on the minds of the people I have met.

And don’t worry about not have that perfect ice breaker, think of how easy is it to reflect on the fact that we are all still exchanging these little pieces of paper in 2014. Check out some famous business cards below.