The Smartest Thing You Can Put on Your Business Card

Last Updated Apr 18, 2011 10:18 AM EDT

Think about your business card. It's the last impression you make after your first impression. So it stands to reason you'd want it to be unique and memorable, not bland and forgettable -- which is exactly what most business cards are.

According to author/publisher CJ Chilvers, there's one surefire way to make your business card stand out from the crowd: leave it blank.

Do yourself a favor and buy some great blank business card paper stock and keep a pen handy. When you meet someone, make them feel a little special by taking the time to write out exactly what they need to know. It's unique. It stands out. It's powerful.
In other words, the smartest thing you can put on your business card is nothing at all. (Another fitting answer: "a pen.")

I think the genius of this idea is that it lets you indulge your creativity while crafting a totally personalized message. Recall something funny or poignant you discussed during your meet-and-greet ("French wine is overrated!"), or keep it cryptic -- just your Web address, for example -- to pique curiosity when the card is rediscovered days later. You're not stuck with the same boilerplate text.

Of course, the downside is that it takes time to write out a customized business card, which isn't always convenient or practical. Plus, there's that nagging need to "keep a pen handy."

But I agree with Chilvers that this really could help you stand out. And consider the added perks: blank cards cost a lot less than printed ones (especially if you usually splurge on 4-color printing), and you can use them for other purposes -- like jotting notes.

What are your thoughts on blank business cards? Too much work for not enough return? Or a simple and effective way to make yourself memorable? Share your thoughts in the comments. [via Lifehacker}

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