CXO

How to create slides and business cards that prompt action

What do you want people to do when they see your slides or receive your business card? Here's how you can bring your slides and business card into the modern age.

Image: Andy Wolber/TechRepublic

When you share slides or hand someone a business card, you're inviting people to take action. A link to your slides—on a slide—encourages people to look at your presentation later. An email address on your business card asks the recipient to send you email.

However, title slides often suggest too few actions and business cards offer too many. To see what I mean, open a few public presentations and set out a few business cards. Let's look first at the information to remove, then at information you should add.

Information to remove

1. Remove fax number

Unless you send or receive faxes as a core part of your workflow, omit this number from your business cards. (And if you still send and receive faxes as a core part of your workflow, add "update workflow" to your project list.)

2. Remove street address

Make sure that a search for your organization returns up-to-date addresses information. If not, update your address information—with Google, on Facebook, and on your website.

If the purpose of your card or slides is to encourage people to go to one specific place, promote your address. Otherwise, omit it.

SEE: OK, Google: "Is (my business) open now? (TechRepublic)

3. Remove phone number(s)

Unless you really want people to call, you can probably omit your phone number from your slides and business card. This is especially true if you want to connect with people born between 1981 and 1999: A phone call is their least favorite way to communicate, according to data Mary Meeker presented in her Internet Trends 2016 report.

At the very least, omit multiple numbers from your cards and slides. Cards that list more than one number (e.g., multiple office numbers, a direct number, a mobile number, etc.) indicate that you have an outdated communication system. Modern phone systems, like Dialpad and Google Voice, can route an incoming call to multiple devices.

4. Remove email address

Think carefully before you put an email address on either your slides or business cards. If you're in sales and your prospects prefer email, include your address. Often, though, your email address on a card just means you'll be added to an email list.

At this point, we've removed information that people should be able to find with a simple search. Next, let's look at some information you might add.

Information to add

1. Add a photo

People remember faces. Add a recent photo to your business card and slides to remind people why they have the card: "Oh, I remember, I saw her give a presentation in Peoria." A photo can also help people distinguish you from other people with the same—or similar—name.

2. Add your social streams

I see too many slide decks and business cards that fail to list the person's social media accounts. Be sure to include your username on slides and business cards—but only include streams where you engage regularly and want people to connect. For me, this means Twitter. For other people it might mean Facebook, GitHub, Google+, or LinkedIn.

a-addphoto-social.jpg
Add a photo to aid identification and add social accounts to encourage connection. For example, a slide from a recent Google I/O presentation suggests two actions: Follow the presenter on either Google+ or Twitter.

3. Add security

If you must use email, remember that email messages are inherently insecure. Add a link to your PGP key to let people send you encrypted messages.

4. Add accessibility

Increase the font size on your slides and business cards as much as possible. At the very least, look at your slides from the back of the room. Hold your business card at arm's length—and remove your glasses. (Or, try the newspaper test: Make sure the smallest font is at least as large as the type found in the print version of major newspapers, such as the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.) Is everything still readable? If not, increase font sizes. You might also add braille to your cards to make your business card information accessible to more people.

5. Add a reason to connect

Add a reason for people to connect with you on your business card and in your slides. Sometimes, this will be obvious, as in, "Need tech support?" Other times, you might list your interests or fields of focus. Keep this short: A Twitter bio length of text (160 characters) is a good guide.

The start of the story

Finally, borrow a lesson from the film industry for your slides and business cards. Many early films showed several minutes of credits before the story got going. Most modern films start with the story: They show us a scene designed to attract our attention.

Your slides and business cards don't need to list every possible way a person could reach you. Instead, they just need to invite people to take an action to start the story.

Also see

About Andy Wolber

Andy Wolber helps people understand and leverage technology for social impact. He resides in Ann Arbor, MI with his wife, Liz, and daughter, Katie.

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