Traditional networking was all about the business card, right from the handshake to small talk. The idea was always about finding just the right moment to pass on your information to a potential client.
In the digital age, however, a simple Google search can provide you with all of the information you need about an individual, whether it’s through their corporate profile on LinkedIn or the company website.
Having said that, do UAE business professionals still look for a card when meeting someone for the first time? The answer is a resounding yes, according to BNI Middle East & North Africa’s national director, Bijay Shah. “Business cards are still equally important. When you meet someone for the first time and haven’t really seen what they offer, there are only a few things that can make an impression. The business card is one of these things.”
He explains that it’s all about the visual element – the logo, quality of paper and the creativity behind the card. “It provides a first impression about the business and people can gauge the character of the company. It can be the biggest embarrassment for a businessperson to say they don’t have a business card. It says something about them.”
What makes business cards different today?
Shah says, while technology may not completely replace the business card concept, it definitely has allowed business owners to approach their cards more innovatively. “There’s a personality behind [each card] and it’s relatively inexpensive. Even for businesses with limited budgets in terms of marketing and advertising, one area they don’t want to [skimp on] is having good-quality business cards.”
Long gone are the days when a simple black and white card would suffice.
Undoubtedly, once the cards have been handed out, networkers will probably choose to capture the information on their smartphones. Shah points out that even techies tend to have physical business cards that incorporate technology by including QR codes, so that people can scan and capture data directly on their devices.
In addition to how innovative a card is, another way business cards have changed is in the amount of presented information. Today, business professionals are choosing to add their LinkedIn profile details, Skype usernames and other relevant social media links.
While some have moved away from including landline numbers, this can actually be quite crucial when considering regional dynamics. “It’s about establishing whether you have a physical presence or not. In this market and region, a lot of people operate without a license or the right infrastructure. A landline supports that you have infrastructure in place. In terms of credibility, it can say a lot.”
Thursday, June 5- 2014 @ 12:05 UAE local time (GMT+4) Replication or redistribution in whole or in part is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent of Mediaquest FZ LLC.