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Friday, 31 August 2012 20:00

Today's Calling Cards

Written by  Katie Hultgren

I am fascinated with history, and have a particular fondness for ephemera. I love to ponder how living life in a time gone by compares to the life we are living today, and old paper items offer a unique glimpse into the past.

In Victorian times, it was most fashionable to use a calling card during social visits. There were many rules associated with these cards, reflecting the manners and propriety of the day. While there was not much information on them, the cards conveyed messages in the manner in which they were presented, and in the response of the receiver. In a way, they were similar to today?s ?friend request? on Facebook. 

Calling cards were more for social purposes, and for business, one would use a trade card. Today, we use our business cards. How many business cards have you received and distributed over the years? How many of those that you have gotten have been memorable? 

Someone once told me of a travel agent whose cards were printed on plastic. That way, when he met potential clients or business associates on the beach, the card would not be ruined in the water. One of our writers who specializes in scuba diving and underwater photography uses a postcard sized business card. It has the image of four scuba divers, sitting together in the men?s room on a sunken ship. That card is so unique, it is posted on my bulletin board! When I need a dive story, she comes to mind instantly. When choosing your business card, be sure to design it to your best advantage. It should reflect you and the nature of your business as closely as it can. Include all pertinent contact details, and be sure to include the more modern modes of communication, including your email address, cell phone number, website, Facebook page address, and Twitter handle. 

When meeting and greeting people and exchanging cards, have a pen at hand to jot a little something about your meeting on the back of the card - both the cards you receive, and those you give away. How many times have you returned to the office and not remembered the person whose card you have in hand? If a note had been jotted on the back with brief details of that meeting, it would be so much easier to remember, and to be remembered. Do bear in mind that in some countries, the presentation, reception and treatment of business card is different than it is here in the US. 

There are other pieces of ?future ephemera? that you can put to use in your business. You can give little useful and inexpensive items, marked with your logo and contact details. These would include packets for cruise or travel documents, magnets, or small calendars at the start of a new year. Also, be sure to send holiday cards and other types of greetings. There is an expense involved, but the reward will exceed the cost.

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