Ed Evarts

Raise Your Visibility & Value: Always Have Business Cards

I attended a team coaching conference in Washington D.C. for four days this past week. When I got to the conference, I realized I had forgotten to bring business cards. It was a big miss!

Even business leaders who talk about the importance of raising your visibility can forget business cards now and again. Keep in mind that business cards are not for you; they are for the other person you are meeting. Even if you hate having them, business cards are the most professional way to share your contact information with a new colleague, prospect, or business acquaintance.

There are two simple things you must do to ensure that you always have business cards for every meeting and conference you attend:

  • Ensure you have business cards in your wallet or purse. Regardless of what you wear each day, you almost always have your purse or wallet. Prior to my trip to D.C., I removed my business cards from my wallet as I was interviewing a handful of people for a client’s 360 assessment and I wanted to give each of them a business card. I forgot to put them back in my wallet. Big miss!
  • Ensure you have a supply of business cards in your car, luggage, and briefcase. Since you almost always travel with one or more of these, you will always have a back-up supply of business cards when you need them. You should keep them in a small plastic sandwich bag to keep them clean. I did not do this prior to my trip to D.C., even though I used both my luggage and my briefcase. Another big miss!

So, avoid these big misses. Ensure you always have access to a supply of your business cards and you will never be empty handed.

Why Don’t We Introduce Ourselves Well?

Regardless of your comfort level or skill, you are probably one or more of the following when you introduce yourself to a new colleague:

Inconsistent. Sometimes you introduce yourself to others effectively and sometimes you do not.
Uncomfortable. You find introducing yourself to be uncomfortable; you either introduce yourself quickly or you avoid introducing yourself altogether.
Inattentive. You pay little attention while you are introducing yourself – it is over before you even realize it.
Underskilled. You do not know how to introduce yourself effectively.
Underinvested. You do not value the importance of a strong introduction, and you have not thought about building your skill for introducing yourself to others.

Whether you are inconsistent, inattentive, or underinvested, introducing yourself effectively is one of the foundations for raising your visibility and value in your organization and industry. If there is one behavior I could change that would help me feel this book is a wild success, it would be shifting your mindset regarding introducing yourself – shifting from the belief that introducing yourself is unimportant to the belief that introducing yourself is a critical behavior to embrace in today’s fast-paced and frenetic organizations.