By Jillian Maas Backman
One of the greatest business inventions is the simple business card! 2 by 43.5 inch calling cards to help the entire world immediately identify who you are. Corporations spend thousands of dollars hiring marketing gurus to design eye- popping icons with strategic catchy slogans to ultimately capture your attention. Some add self-portraits or snappy colors just to mix it up. Others opt for simple black and white for a more subdued, sophisticated presentation. Whatever your preference, the goal is to be noticed and more importantly, remembered. I started writing this blog entry several weeks ago after someone struck up a conversation about my unique business card. My intentions, is to conclude with a rousing discussion on the inherit power of this simple business tool. However, I was diverted by something much more compelling than my initial intention...
Recently America watched as, Beth Holloway, the mother of missing child Natalie Holloway, flew to a Peruvian prison to meet with a man that is being held on other charges and who is suspected in the disappearance of her daughter several years ago. We all gasped at the thought that she would jump on a plane, fly to a foreign country just to confront this man behind prison bars. Even though this part of the story is what took us all by storm, I was drawn in by a more subtle part of the heroic adventure, the ending. It has been reported that she did get to meet face- to- face with the suspect. However, the entire event was abruptly concluded after only 5 minutes. The man behind bars handed the mother a BUSINESS CARD, with the name of his attorney on it. Visit over, matter concluded. With a flick of the wrist from one hand to another, this simple little piece of cardboard was singularly responsible for altering the destiny of both parties simultaneously. Although this is not the ending this courageous mother was hoping for, it did give the world other insights to ponder-- this is what caught my attention. What can we learn from this elusive pointed maneuver? We should never forget the power of the card! In a world where personal relevance and individuality seems to be fading away, it is somewhat reassuring to know there is still a way to keep separate from the pack. This is the last paper thread left connecting us to the business frontier of days gone by. May we all take refuge in the fact this sacred paper trail may be able to survive the hostile takeover of contemporized technology.
We all want to believe we are important enough to have our business card held onto, above all others; that we are the “one” to remember! And rightly, so, we are leaving behind our modern day legacy, a trail, for others to emulate after we pass. None of us wants to believe someone would deliberately discard such an iconic representation of ourselves so harshly. Nevertheless, the cold reality, the majority of the time they do. This is what Beth Holloway was attempting to complete for her missing child, remembrance, a cherished legacy of her beautiful but short existence. Why is that so challenging others to see? That is what the mother went seeking clear across the other side of the planet. How ironic is it that the one thing left untouched altered her legacy by modern evolution, the business card?
In other cultures outside of America, the exchange of business cards is considered ceremonial. It is an ancient artful ritual between individuals who pass through each other’s lives in a simple moment in time. Seen as a natural extension of the person themselves and treated with the highest form of respect. The protocol includes presenting and accepting the business card with both hands. Eye- to- eye contact, and a personalized “thank you” to seal the deal. You can see from the introduction, I deliberately used my own personal business card. Not to sell anything to you, but to demonstrate symbolic communications. The icon on my card is an actual impression of my hand. I love to give and receive business cards, which is an immediate glimpse into the reflection of someone’s soul. I have created my own ritualistic style of exchange. I literally hold each one of my cards before I give it away, and then the receiver accepts a blessing of some kind. I know it may sound corny to some of you. Nevertheless, there is so much pain in the world today every little intent counts. So next time when you engage in an unconscious business card exchange, do me a favor pause, reflect, and trade with loving intent.
Two strangers exchange business cards that then become two acquaintances. Those two acquaintances lead to business associates, which then lead to friendships, leading therein to partnerships, partnerships lead to groups, those groups lead to communities, and ultimately , the world…………………..
We are all one business card away from knowing each other.
In gracious love, Jillian Maas Backman