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The Net Takeaway: "I don't have my cards on me..."


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"I don't have my cards on me..." · 06/27/2005 04:24 PM, Marketing

I’ve seen this more and more recently. In the past, people loved to share business cards… but in the last 3 months, I’ve seen everyone, from entry level employees to CEOs, conveniently “forget their cards”.

Why is there such a huge amnesia to business cards? We still can’t beam cards to each other (I know, bluetooth eliminates the IR issues, and vcf is read by everybody… but it still don’t work) so we still need this anachronism). Also, no one I know has a card scanner, so most of this content just sits on the card. Some folks say “I don’t need cards; just read the footer on my emails”… but that may be the biggest problem.

Many of the people I’m meeting are ones I haven’t emailed. So, without their card, I have no easy way to contact them again. And that may be their point.

Maybe, just maybe, they’ve made the decision that either a) I’m not worth wasting a card on, or b) I shouldn’t have permission to mail them.

In America, we don’t have a polite way to say “I actually don’t want to give you my card; you might mail me, call me, or give my info to someone else, and its out of my control at that point”… so we say “I forgot my cards” as the only polite out. Its even worse if the other person offers you one first; now you are obligated to give one even if you weren’t planning to… and out comes the excuse. It feels transparent to me, like “the dog ate my homework” or “a trans-dimensional muon had a probability sphere collapse right by my car, and I had to clean it, making me really late”, just excuses. (Ok, maybe that muon one feels even more transparent, but its so creative that you would give the person points for trying, I think).

You know, maybe its true. Maybe all these people just forgot their cards each time we meet. But I doubt it. I wish we could just be honest enough to say “If I want your card, I’ll ask for it”. I often say “Do you need a card?” to give the recipient an easy out. Perhaps its a good habit to get into. (Oh, another is not leaving the card on the table as you get up to go. Tacky on both sides).

(No post without links: lots of people tried to put business cards in their emails but most of them seemed to have gone. Here is one of the only ones I could find still around:

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