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A Case For Cards

by Leni Chauvin

Have you ever noticed how important cards are in our lives? From the time we are young children, we are exposed to these small pieces of paper in one form or another and each one we encounter is significant in our development. Think back to your childhood and you'll see that I'm right. What are some of your earliest memories...flash cards, report cards, baseball cards traded with fervour as if all the world depended on having just the right player frozen in time on a piece of cardboard? What about birthday cards and Valentine's Day cards or postcards sent from far-away and exotic places before we were old enough to travel to those places ourselves? Playing cards to help us while away rainy summer days and tarot cards to tell our future. Whom will we marry? Where will we live? What will we do to earn our living? It's all in the cards, they say.

As we travel through life we are inundated with more and more cards to show our ever-increasing levels of responsibility: library cards, membership cards, drivers licenses, bank cards, credit cards. It wasn't so terribly long ago that young men got cards around the time they went off to college and they made life-altering decisions based on those cards. Some burned them. Some went to war. Either action made a large and powerful statement. Thankfully, those days are gone. Isn't it interesting, though, that today's youth, when trying to buy some beer for a fraternity party, are not asked for proof of age? Instead they get "carded."

Since cards of one sort or another have been so important throughout the various stages of our lives, it stands to reason, to me anyway, that they should be of paramount importance for those of us who have entered the business arena. Our cards, after all, speak for us when we're not there to speak for ourselves. They tell people who we are, where to find us, what we do, and more often than not, by their very appearance, how we do it.

Think about it. So much about our cards is indicative of how we do business. Have you ever received a dog-eared and dirty card retrieved from the back of someone's wallet? What about a card that has had the phone numbers crossed off and corrected in ink? Have you ever received a card and still had no idea what the person did? We all have, I'm sure.

I've also been in situations way too many times when I have asked someone for their card and they weren't carrying it. I've even had people ask me for MY card so they could write THEIR contact information on it and give it back to me! I'm not talking about running into someone walking their dog, I'm talking about someone at a business mixer or at a meeting. How can they not have their card on them at such a time??? Are they there for business or what? Honestly I just don't get it.

When I started out in sales, one of the first war stories I heard was from a veteran realtor who told me he had gone out on a Sunday morning to a very busy local shopping area. He chanced upon people whom he hadn't seen in years. They had an interesting conversation about real estate and the rising house values in our area. One thing led to another, and they asked where he was currently working. He went to give them a card and found he didn't have any on him. He kicked himself for days over that. It might seem like nothing to a lot of people, but when you're in business, you're in business ALL the time. That doesn't mean you have to be WORKING all the time. It just means you need to be PREPARED all the time. You never know where opportunity is lurking.

I learned a very valuable lesson from the man who forgot his cards, and since hearing his story I have NEVER gone anywhere without a card on me. I have been asked for my card under all sorts of circumstances, and I've always been able to come up with one. I witnessed an automobile accident. The police officer asked for my business card for his wife. A lady stopped me while I was raking leaves one day and we started to talk. She asked for my card. I ran into someone while power walking at the beach and they asked for my card. Whether I'm at a networking meeting, playing frisbee in the park, or sitting in a movie theater, I've always got a card on me. It's an easy habit to get into and one which can easily maximize opportunities to expand your network, and thus, your net worth. BOTTOM LINE: Don't leave home without them!

© Copyright 1999 Leni Chauvin

About the Author

Leni Chauvin is a professional business coach, writer, speaker and internationally recognized expert in building business through strong referral networks. Visit http://www.superstarnetworking.com to learn more and to subscribe to NETWORKING GAZETTE, Leni's FREE e-mail newsletter. mailto:leni@superstarnetworking.com

Tags: Communicate



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