Simple things.. Are they Really Simple ?

Monday, April 17, 2006

My Business Card - A Tale

'Business Cards' - never been in my agenda to carry one. Rather never brushed with situations where I felt the need to exchange cards. Few well wishers of me use to say that I need to have it and dont know when we would need one.And yes, I too felt the need on the day before 'Pongal' this year in a sweet shop called 'Adayar Ananda Bhavan'.

That was during the evening I was having a snack item and also was in a hurry to catch the train that night. A person entered the shop and he was also in a hurry, went through all the sweets displayed. For me he was a familiar VIP, that too in a business circle in Chennai. Hardly no one recognised him as a VIP and finally one person came to help him. It took me some time to arrive at who he is and confirm myself. He was Mr.Pandiarajan of Mafoi.

I was pretty much anxious to say 'Hai' to him. I was particular that it must be natural and waiting for a proper space. Accidently I was over with my snack and approaching the cash counter and he also by that time over with his purchase was nearing the same place. We were standing near each other and finally I broke the silence and said , 'Mr. Pandiarajan ?...' and he said 'Yes' with a smile. Thats enough for a little introductory conversation. I have read few columns he wrote in 'Anadha Vikatan'. I enquired about that and he asked about my whereabouts. But he was in a extreme hurry. We both came out of the shop and he was speaking to somebody on his phone and at the end when I about to take my bike, I said 'Happy Pongal'. He smiled and wished me. He left then.

If I had a 'Business Card' with me at that time, that would have been a different professional scenario. We would have exchanged our cards and that could have led me in developing a very good contact in a real good Business world.I was truely sad.

Subsequently I faced with situations where I should have given my cards. Last week my parents were planning a visit here and I was suppose to accompany them and there I need a card for SURE. Otherwise the problem is I can't face my father. He insist on these matters strictly. Also he is very much particular about how to carry oneself professionally.

So why this story on 'Business Cards'.

Yes, today I have received 'Business Cards' for me for the first time.

This is just to mark this day.


  • At 9:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I am not able to fully agree with you.But that does not mean that one need not have a business card with him.I would like to look at this in two different perspectives.First,when you are meeting somebody for the first time on busines purpose it is essential to exchange business cards for a number of obvious reasons.But at the same time you stumble upon a number of persons unexpectedly and in a number of occasions.Those people may be of different levels.Let us start from the Top.As in your case people like Mr.Pandiarajan who are business leaders and a chance meeting with them could literally change your personal or/and professional career dramatically.In such situations it is not very important to exchange cards because they may not store it carefully for future use.Instead you must try to get hold of their cards so that you can get in touch with them later on.In such circumstances what is important is how you introduce yourself and what you talk.You must be aware of "60 second elevator speech".If what you talked make sense to him and if you have his email id or whatever you can follow it up later.
    At the other extreme are people who are below you in terms of position or whatever where they will do what you would be doing to people above you.Here again there is no need to exchange your cards though it would be better to do that.Personally however I do not want to bracket any people in that category for the simple reason that any body could bwe of use to you and moreover oftentimes we tend to mistake people on some wrong indicators.
    Finally there are people belonging to your own group.Most of the people you come across would belong to this category and only here what you said with regard to business cards would be relevant.
    But it is not always possible to identify and isolate people on the above basis.Perception plays a key role here.While attending Seminars it always happen.You try to meet people whom you think belong to your network or would be of use professionally.Moreover not all people would go all out to meet most of the participants.Quite interestingly a curious thing happened in my own case when I was attending CII Seminar at Chennai a couple of years ago.The same Mr.Pandiarajan came to me and introduced himself and started talking to me.Only after seeing his card I realised this was the same Mr.Pandiarajan,the MD of the company.Here obviously he erred on the wrong side.By looking at my professorial face(that is what some used to describe me) he must have mistaken me as an important person worth interacting.Though I was a Professor in a sense I knew for sure that his perception would just remain a perception.
    At the end of the day what I would like to say is in such chance encounters more than your business card your chance of leveraging that meeting depends on your elevator speech.Now you should not ask me how come I did not have an elevator speech that day to get into the next stepin the
    networking process.After all professors are known more for professing than practising.
    S.Gnana Haran.


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