Play your cards right


By Papri Das

Business cards aren?t just a piece of paper with information, it is a reflection of your professional persona and is often a powerful tool in building your network and trust base within the industry. Even with digital platforms like LinkedIn in place, several media professionals and executives prefer the old school way exchanging cards. And it doesn't stop at that. From choosing the right paper, colour and design to learning the etiquette of sharing it -- there is a science to it all.

If all this has gotten you confused, fret not as Exec Lifestyle has compiled all that you need to know in mastering the art of business cards exchanging.

From a designer?s perspective, your card?s design should convey a story and a purpose behind the company you represent.  Graphic designer Chandrashekhar Rane, who also designs business cards shares, ?Especially in a corporate setting, just like we judge people based on their shoes and watches, the design of your business card plays a huge role in how seriously your peers take you.?

While there is a range of templates to choose from, depending on one?s profession, industry and their personal approach to their work, Rane has noticed three categories on which he bases the crux of his designs. ?Based on the age demography, there are three types of business card designs -- teens to early twenties, mid twenties to professionals in their forties and finally the senior,? says Rane.

If Rane had to observe a trend in requests by his clients across the vast categories, it would definitely be minimalistic sophistication, which also includes transparent cards with the details embossed.

Rane also points out that startups and new business entrepreneurs are often seen opting for cards with pop art and catchy illustrations. ?Some even play around with the shape of the card, and choose flashy colors and contrasts to make them stand out. It?s that phase in their career when they are trying very hard to get noticed and that reflects in their cards,? he points out.

While that can work like a charm if you are in the creative field, overly designed and quirky looking cards can backfire on all your networking strategies, according to Konkana Bakshi, who runs the personality development and image enhancement platform, Savoir Faire Academie.

Bakshi couldn?t be more displeased with the range of ?creative? cards she has encountered that fail to serve its purpose. ?Cards with lots of designs and bright color codes often look overloaded, and come across as ?trying too hard.? Certainly not a professional way to go about it. A professional business card should be made out of good quality paper, ideally white or any light color with the person?s contact details printed clearly on it. Moreover, CEOs and other executives can choose not to give their personal mobile number on the cards,? says Bakshi. She admits to have come across many elegant business cards of top-notch media personalities.

Bakshi is not only critical of the types of business cards people carry but the entire culture of card pushing that one can see in professional gatherings. ?Those who come to a gathering to network are often seen giving their cards to every single person in the room, which makes no sense at all. A business card is something you share with someone after a chat or so, only if you hit a common ground and wish to get in touch with them in future. Moreover, the person giving their card must ask the person in front if it is okay for him or her to accept their card, especially if they are giving the card to a lady,? explains Bakshi.

?Needless to say, women should be more conservative when giving away their business cards in an office party. If you bring as much business cards as your clutch can hold to a gathering, and have run out of all of them by the end of the evening, you have done more than enough of networking,? she further adds.

There are certain etiquettes to be kept in mind when receiving cards as well. ?It?s impolite to take a business card and put it away in pocket or in your bag without giving it a proper glance. The ideal way is to accept the card (with both hands), go through it as if you are interested, and strike a conversation with the owner of the card for a minute or two before putting it away,? says Bakshi, adding that exchanging cards should ideally be restricted to formal and professional gathering alone as business cards in a close and personal setting gives off a cold and aloof

Now that we have powered you with the Dos and Don?ts of business card exchanging, here is a list of online sites that can help you customise creative business cards, without having to spend a fortune in hiring the pros.

  1. Vista Print
  2. Moo
  3. Jukebox Print
  4. GotPrint

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