Let’s imagine that I am (as a business owner) having a great conversation with you (the student) but I have limited time and need to keep moving on (another appointment is calling) but I want to stay in touch and to end our conversation I ask you for your business card.
A Poor Ending
You look very uncomfortable at this point as you don’t have a card. You might even tell me that you don’t have a card because after all you are just a student!
So now I have two main choices. I can leave the conversation there, shake your hand and wish you well.
This action means that the opportunity for you that I was considering previously has just been lost.
Or I could suggest (or you might) that we take your contact information by scribbling it on a napkin or post it note or similar (at this point we might also need to find a pen).
At this point I am beginning to lose patience as my next appointment is becoming closer and this process is feeling very “home made.”
This action means that you may still have an opportunity for me to keep in contact but you have made it harder and more importantly a less persistent business person would have walked away.
I also now have a question about just how serious you are about your career.
A Great Ending
But let’s imagine that I ask for your business card and you produce one in an instant.
Now we have a whole new ending to our conversation. I can see that you are serious.
You haven’t added to my time pressure of getting to my next appointment and the whole process has taken seconds only.
You have just backed up all my initial assessment of you and I go away with a positive feeling. You have now just differentiated yourself from your competition.
Business cards are so easy to produce and they need to be in your business tool kit when you begin your studies.
There is no reason to leave the production of your business card until you have finished your qualification.
You will lose too many business opportunities during your course if you do not have a card – What a waste.
Produce a business card which details your contact information and your specialty/research information.
Develop a habit of asking business people for their cards and get used to the etiquette of the process.