How to Introduce Yourself at Genealogy Conferences
October 06, 2016
Whether or not you are attending RootsTech or another Genealogy Conference or Convention, whether you're going as a participant (speaker, presenter, etc.) or as an attendee, you should have a card. Call it what you want - a business card, a calling card, a Genealogy calling card..... but you should have one.
A calling card allows you to connect more easily with other genealogists. You're more accessible with your name and contact details on a card.
This is the new card I designed using Moo. It's a dramatic departure from my 2011 card I had made for my Olive Tree Genealogy website!
The business cards for my Olive Tree Genealogy website that I printed for RootsTech 2011 were too simple. I wish I'd done color for my logo, not just black and white. I like simple. I like uncluttered. But mine don't contain enough details and I may remove my cell phone number. If I want someone to have that I can easily add it, because my cards are not glossy and they aren't double-sided. It's a personal preference re glossy or matte, there's no right or wrong. But my next card for my genealogy website will be quite different.
Do you have a blog? A website? Are you a passionate genealogist? Are you a member of some genealogy societies, a volunteer for a genealogical organization? Are you on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, Periscope, Instagram, LinkedIn or another social networking site? Do you run a genealogy business or publish genealogy books? You need a card to let other genealogists know about your interests and how and where they can contact you!
Perhaps you aren't involved in any of the things I mentioned above. But you love genealogy and you like to meet other genealogists. You could benefit from a genealogy calling card. Think of the 19th Century when visitors handed their calling cards to servants who placed them on a silver tray for the head of the house or his wife to look at later.
I'm not advocating anything as fancy as the Victorian calling card shown here but if you like this style, why not? Whether ornate or simple, a calling card is a great introduction and a good way to ensure that genealogists you meet will remember you.
Perhaps you've sat through a wonderfully inspiring and informative presentation on a genealogy topic. You managed to introduce yourself to the presenter. She gave you her business card. Wouldn't it be great for you to hand her your calling card too? Now she has a name, an email and any other information you want to put on it, to remind her of your meeting. Who knows, maybe you'll connect in the future.
Or you got chatting to the genealogists sitting on either side of you. Hand them your card if you think you'd like to continue to engage with them. Maybe you went to the Conference alone and you don't know anyone there. You might decide you'd like to meet one of them for a quick supper. If your card doesn't have your cell phone number, you can scribble it on the back and invite a phone call or text to arrange a meetup.
So I created my new author cards this year. I've got a funky case I can carry them in (thanks to my granddaughter who gave it to me in 2011).
Oh and no QR codes on mine. A lot of people don't know what those codes are for on a business card, and I'm not convinced of their usefulness on a card that already has the information printed.
Think about creating calling cards or business cards for your next genealogy convention or think about whether or not it's time to revise old ones. There are many online companies such as Moo that print business cards for a reasonable fee. So don't wait, think about which you prefer - modern business cards or old-fashioned calling cards. Or maybe you will surprise everyone with a combination of the two. As for glossy or matte, remember that you can write on matte but not glossy. Perhaps you want to omit your cell number on your card but keep the ability to jot it down on the back if needed.
Lorine McGinnis Schulze is a Canadian genealogist who has been involved with genealogy and history for more than thirty years. In 1996 Lorine created the Olive Tree Genealogy website and its companion blog. Lorine is the author of many published genealogical and historical articles and books.
Great suggestion! And I did get "calling cards" with my name as part of the high school graduation package. Ok, that was a few years ago :)
Posted by: Sara Campbell | October 06, 2016 at 08:06 AM
Big fan of Moo! Calling cards are a must.
Posted by: Edward Grandi | October 06, 2016 at 09:26 AM
What a great idea. I actually did exactly what you mentioned (minus the card) at a Genealogy Day I attended not long ago. One of the speakers was someone I had seen posting on our state FB page and I introduced myself after the session. I have since seen her at the State Archives & we've briefly spoken, but she probably doesn't remember our first meeting. And, I've often gotten to speaking with people on my Archives trips - it would be great if we have any matching interests/families to easily be able to provide my information.
Posted by: Marilyn Sliva | October 06, 2016 at 09:40 AM
I made "business cards" to use during genealogy research vacation trips. They include my full name (maiden and married), address, phone number, and email address just as a regular card is. Then I added a slogan (latest is "Genealogy is a family affair!") then across the lower part of card I have listed the names I am researching. I leave these with research center personel and/or post them where centers have bulletin boards. If I happen upon someone related, I have instant contact information to give them. It also seems to help establish credibility for my research questions.
Posted by: Dolores Smith | October 06, 2016 at 07:36 PM
I would use a QR code for something you want to leave off the card. Such as a phone number. They want to call, they scan the barcode with their phone and the number is embedded in the bar code.
Posted by: Arnold Scott | October 11, 2016 at 05:25 PM