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Why Use Photo Business Cards at Conferences?

February 2020 Update:

Well, I talked myself into ordering a photo business card to hand out at conferences. Here’s why: I typically speak at dozens of conferences per year, during which time I’ll meet hundreds of fascinating lawyers, marketers, and other professionals all over the world, and hand out 250-500 cards, mostly to strangers.

Some of these attendees will ask for my business card and vow to try to bring me in to their firms to train their people. Then they get busy at work, and months pass before they come across my card again. By then, few will remember exactly who that “Ross Fishman, CEO of Fishman Marketing” is.

But if they had a picture of me on that card, they’re more likely to piece together that I was that conference speaker they liked enough to seek his card. So I took the advice I offered in the blog post below and ordered 2,000 of these photo cards to hand out at conferences.  Let’s see what happens….

Original Post:

I never liked having lawyers’ photos on their business cards; I always thought that it made them look like Caldwell Banker realtors.  But recently in Colombia at the ASIPI conference for Latin IP lawyers, I think I changed my mind. 

At the conference, my friend, Uruguayan lawyer Martin Pittaluga, mentioned that he has two entirely different business cards, (1) a traditional card for day-to-day use, and (2) a second set of photo cards he uses exclusively for out-of-town conferences.  I learned at the ASIPI conference what a powerful tool that can be.

I presented a few programs on marketing, branding, and website design at the conference, whose 600 attendees were Spanish-speaking IP lawyers from Central and South America and beyond.

I met dozens of fascinating and charming Latin lawyers, some of whom attend 10-20 conferences per year, all over the world.

ASIPI members are extraordinary networkers, and over two days I received nearly 50 business cards (see the partial stack below?).  Unfortunately, right now, looking at all these cards, I can’t remember precisely who most of them are (although of course I took notes on most of them for follow-up purposes). It’s not that I won’t remember having met them, but it’ll take me an additional step, like visiting their websites or LinkedIn profiles to see their photos, in order to remember who they are.

However, looking at the faces on the photo cards I clearly recall every single person and our specific conversations.  Interesting….

I’m starting to realize that for savvy professionals who attend or speak at a lot of conferences, photo business cards can magnify the impact of your networking.  What do you think? 

March 2018 update:

I saw another good example of these photo cards at the ABA Tech Show in Chicago, when I received a beautifully designed one from my good friend Ernest Svenson, the renowned “Ernie the Attorney”. Ernie has a practice “Helping lawyers use technology to create magical law practices.” Nice job, Ernie!


Of Counsel magazine, Editor Steve Taylor:

“Want a good year-end present to give to your associates?”

“I’ve got the ideal gift idea. Give them Ross Fishman’s The Ultimate Law Firm Associate’s Marketing Checklist, a 100-page, well-written, engaging and very practical guide—no, make that, bible—to show associates what they need to do to begin to build internal and external networks and eventually establish a book of business.

“Marketing Checklist offers associates who are early in their careers simple, real-world tips to develop their reputation among the partners at the firm, first, and for more senior associates, it provides tips on how to generate clients.” It’s also available in Chinese and Hebrew.

Order copies for yourself or all of your associates here!