School of Card Knocks

Whether you’re a social media boss with 1M+ followers, entry level recent college graduate on the rise, well established cubicle all-star by day and Shark Tank entrepreneur by night or just a legitimate shot-calling “Olivia Pope” style attorney, understanding proper business card etiquette is a must.

There are a few things to keep in mind when giving or receiving business cards. First, is that,...

Money in the Thank

In the world of business, thank you cards are like a “nice to see you” hug on steroids. We don’t know about you, but at Urban Professor there’s nothing quite like a “nice to see you” hug. Much like a great hug, thank you cards are warmer, more sincere, and standout from the pack of others compared to sending an e-mail, phone call, text, or nothing at all.

In a day and age of increased technology, business execs have an even heightened appreciation for the effort and time one takes to buy a card, fill it out with thoughts customized for them, lick the nasty tasting envelope seal (amazing that it’s 2010 and we haven’t invented an envelope seal that taste like Kool-Aid, “Red” flavor), pay a small, but, still additional postage fee, and then locate the nearest postal shipper to send it their way. I mean c’mon, that has to beat an IM, e-mail, e-card, phone call, or tweet on any day. You’ll also quickly find out that thank you cards won’t get stuck in the voicemail call back list, e-mail spam, or HR forget me piles. Surprising as it may be, the simple gesture of sending a thank you card usually triggers the recipient to reach out to you to say Thank You for the card if nothing more.

A good thank you card should usually be blank or contain minimal pre-written manufactured text besides “Thank You”; all other text should be from you. The card should be on nice, yet simple design card stock, and you can buy them by the pack or singles (and no the singles are not called “Loosies”). A pack can range from $1.99 to upwards of $9.99 and they can be purchased anywhere from drugstores with greeting card inventory to stationery stores like Hallmark or Papyrus.

Your message in the cards should be heartfelt, purposeful, and speak to subject matter in which both you and the recipient are familiar. As far as sending them, they can be sent whenever, there’s rarely a time when someone isn’t due for a good thanking. However, thank you cards hold an even heightened appreciation when received promptly after an occasion or meeting such as an interview, internship completion, school acceptance, or referral letter to name a few. You can even send them upon the not so good news, such as not receiving the job offer. Hell, you’ll be surprised at the opportunities this act can open up, it’s truly the politest way to say “screw you, your loss”.

All this thanking and stuff has us feeling so warm, we would like to thank all of our readers and may you soon discover that thank you cards may be the best use of $10 or less that exist.

School of Card Knocks

Whether you’re like “Calvin,” and you just got your first McDonald’s job, like “Tommy” and you ain’t got no job, or like Barack Obama and you have the most powerful job, understanding proper business card etiquette is a must.

There are a few things to keep in mind when giving or receiving business cards. First, is that, business cards are a representation of one’s self. If you are the giver of the business card, you should present your cards with the same pride you would as if were presenting a miniature version of yourself to the person. This means no bent corners, folds, creases or tattered edges. The use of a good business card holder will certainly remedy this. A good business card holder is typically leather or silver and can range from $25 to $150. Make sure your business card is void of notes from previous conversations with any other business contact. Receiving one of those is about as much fun as your girl calling you the wrong name (even if it is harmless, it just feels violating and insincere).

Next, if you are leaving your house or office, you want to make sure you never leave without them, and plenty of them. You never know when a great opportunity will present itself!

Short of throwing your card at someone like a ninja star, you will be okay when giving someone your card, if you take heed to the above. Keep in mind, if you are mailing someone your card or networking with someone who must then speak to another person on your behalf, it is best to give them an additional card for the intended end recipient. You know what they say, “it ain’t no fun, if the homies can’t have none.”

As important, if not more important than giving someone your business card, is correctly receiving a business card. Remember, business cards are a source of pride for many people, particularly when exchanging business cards with people in various international cultures.

Business cards can be great conversation starters, ice breakers, or conversation closers. It is a sign of respect to observe, review, and comment upon receiving someone’s card (as opposed to stuffing it in your pocket or card holder) . You can respond with something as basic as “what city is this area code from?” or something more detailed like “nice slogan” or “this card is a good stock.” An acknowledgement of one’s card goes a long way, you wouldn’t exactly have a date pay for a meal, and not acknowledge the meal or the effort, would you?

Since business cards are an essential tool for networking, be sure to write notes from your conversations with them on the back of the card soon after receiving it so you’ll remember both the contact and the conversation (See Contact High). Lastly, it is extremely important to send a follow-up e-mail or card after exchanging business cards to continue the networking relationship.

It’s rough out there, but, what better way to learn than at the School of Card Knocks? Enjoy. U Define Success.

Kick Socks

First, it was “Coogi down to the socks,” then, it was “the ascot to match the socks,” and more recently it’s “Polo down to the socks,” if you ask Mr. Santana and C-Breezy. So, it goes without saying that your swag isn’t complete unless you’re staying fresh; even with your socks. Now, before you ask why should it matter if they can’t be seen, let us remind you that, even if it’s very subtle, trust, they’re seen.

Kick Socks

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Maybe Biggie, Andre 3000, and Juelz were on to something after all. Fashion doesn’t pause between the pants and shoes. It’s as valid today as it was close to 20 years ago, and truth be told, it was a rule of thumb for some time before then.

Those with the most distinguished of tastes seem to take pleasure in styling where many cease to go, ala Fonzworth Bentley. It’s like having a hot music single that only you’ve heard; then you let those around you hear a snippet, and they’re thirsty for more. Did I just hear what I thought I heard?

In the case of socks its, “Did I just see what I thought I saw?” Contrary to popular belief, the appeal of fashion has always been in the details, and the small things like accessories (see Watchin’ Out), particularly socks, are the gate keepers to this elite club.

Designer socks/fashion socks beg for a double take and get a noticeable nod of fashion respect from onlookers, when done correctly. You could only compare it to the reaction of wearing new Air Jordan’s before they came out in stores. We’re not talking retro’s as much as the originals. Today, those things would snap necks like Miley Cyrus twirking (is it good, is it bad, hard to decide, easy to watch).

There are many ways you can express your new-found respect for styling the old “dogs.” Brands such as Paul Smith, Ralph Lauren, Duchamp, and Ted Baker have carved out names for themselves in the world of fashion socks. So definitely look to a few brands like those when you want to “him ‘em with the flex.”

Now, with every step in the right direction (no pun intended), there are always some certified faux-pas or “keeping it real gone wrong moments.” Exhibit A, yes we all love Michael Jackson, but, let’s be clear, Michael is the only guy that could make white socks with dress shoes cool, clearly a right reserved for those that can light up the sidewalk or lean in gravity defying stances. Exhibit B, your socks shouldn’t have any holes, momma couldn’t be more correct about this one, few things will make a cool person look questionable faster than a hole in one’s socks. Last, but certainly not least, athletic socks should be for athletic shoes only, unless you’re over 50 and you’ve joined the socks with “mandals” club (see link), because nothing says I’m a dad and I don’t care how I look faster than that club. Dress socks are made to look thinner and may often have different fabric compositions that are made for wearing with dress shoes

Paul Smith is widely known for his use of bold colors and lateral lines. Ralph Lauren is known for his affinity toward argyles. Duchamp and the England companies create appeal with color patterns. While Ted Baker has a variety of styles. Fashion socks and their variety of styles are both fun and stylish. When assembling an outfit it’s good to have your dress socks compliment a color that may be in your pocket square and/or tie, just as your shoes should compliment your belt.

You can even go for the luxurious feel of cashmere if you really want to get “bossy.” Yes, designer socks totally challenge our familiarity with sock pricing; however, unless, you’re kicking rocks like Fred Flintstone, they are certainly durable and a worthwhile investment.

Typical retail prices can range from $9 to $35 per pair for dress socks, and upwards of $50 for cashmere. However, you can find them at discount retailers like TJ Maxx or Century 21, in addition to fine department stores like Nordstrom’s or Saks Fifth Avenue.

Try the designer/fashion socks experience for yourself and you will notice the difference from your classic black, navy, or brown toe stuffers. Fashionably yours, step your game up literally, and kick socks. U DEFINE SUCCESS

Kick Socks

Maybe Biggie, Andre 3000, and Juelz were on to something after all. Fashion doesn’t pause between the pants and shoes. It’s as valid today as it was close to 20 years ago, and truth be told, it was a rule of thumb for some time before then.

Money in the Thank

In the world of business, thank you cards are like a “nice to see you” hug on steroids. We don’t know about you, but at Urban Professor there’s nothing quite like a “nice to see you” hug. Much like a great hug, thank you cards are warmer, more sincere, and standout from the pack of others compared to sending an e-mail, phone call, text, or nothing at all.

Shoe Dat?

Some argue that the soul of a person is a hard thing to get to, and we won’t even pretend to know how to get there, but, the sole of a person is what we do know. After much sole searching we’ve definitely discovered that most folks are straight heartless when it comes to matters of the sole.

Shoe Dat?

Always have your shoes shined when making a business appearance. Though the little sneaker store shoe shine cases are effective, they’re mild in comparison to an old-fashioned shoe shine (you might recognize these as the elevated chair w/a gentleman or lady manning them).

School of Card Knocks

Whether you’re like “Calvin,” and you just got your first McDonald’s job, like “Tommy” and you ain’t got no job, or like Barack Obama and you have the most powerful job, understanding proper business card etiquette is a must.


#UnapologeticallyDriven