How To Design The Perfect Business Card

I used to meet a ton of people.

Hundreds every week. Even more when I travelled overseas for big launches.

Remembering names was a weakness of mine. I always figured that if someone was important, they would come back into my life three or four more times and I’d eventually learn their names by exposure and repetition.   It was a terrible attitude on my part.

The sweetest words in the world is the sound of a person’s own voice. It’s astonishing how powerful a connection you can make with someone you just met when you use their name in your dialogue.

“David, meet Helen Biswitherick.”

“Helen Biswitherick? Helen, nice to meet you, I’m David. Helen Bisiwtherick, any relation to Daryl Biswitherick from Portage la Prairie?”

If you’re in a game long enough, you eventually learn little tricks to help your performance.  One of my best ideas that I can share with you is how I learned to design the perfect business card. If you’ve ever seen the movie American Psycho, you remember the famous scene.

american psycho business card

The Perfect Business Card

We will start with the backside first. It’s a little magic trick involving scotomas. I learned this in 1994 from an old trainer named Chuck. He learned it from Lou.

A scotoma is a sensory blockage caused by environmental conditioning or programming. It’s like an air filter hooked onto your reticular activating system. Except it’s a life filter. Your central nervous system is so powerful that it would overload and go crazy if it had to deal with all the stimulus input on a minute by minute basis. For example, is the fan spinning on your computer right now?

You might answer NO! because you have an iPad. Fine. Maybe you are on an ancient Lenovo that could double as a blunt instrument in case of barbarian attack. Regardless, all of a sudden I called your conscious attention to the sound or non-sound of a fan. Your brain screens out so much data that it deems non-essential information on a daily basis. Unfortunately some of that data could be life changing. One idea you read on this blog could change your life.

So picture my plain white business card in your mind. You meet a nice couple at a party and you start talking. You need a way to break the ice and connect with Helen and her husband. You ask her if she suffers from scotomas or if she has had them removed recently.


She’ll blink, smile politely and usually either fake a response or ask you what you mean. Which is a revealing test in itself. You laugh, pull out your shiny brass business card holder, and say, “please hold out both hands”.

You place the card softly into her outstretched palms, and then say, “Please listen carefully Helen. A scotoma is a sensory blockage caused by environmental conditioning. I’d like you to read the phrase printed on this card once silently to yourself and I’ll test you for scotomas.”



She blinks, looks at you and waits for the test. You ask her, “How many letter F’s did you see Helen?”

She might guess a number, or shrug and say no idea. Laugh and say, “Please reread it once more and tell me how many F’s you see.”

At this point, you need to have some showmanship and flexibility. She may say, “I see all 6” or she may say a lower number. If she sees all 6, have her give the card to her companion and retest. You can pull people into your circle of influence at a gathering this way. Remember to laugh and don’t be creepy.

I used to use this test in conference rooms of 2 or 3 hundred people back in the early 2000’s. I was often speaking at internet or real estate marketing seminars and I needed a way to hook the room, assume an air of mysterious authority, plus create a way to get the audience to go to my website and join my list.  So I would run the F test on them. I’d have anyone who saw 2 or more F’s stand up. I’d have the entire room standing. Sit down if you saw 3 F’s. 4F’s. Soon I’d have about 10% of the room standing who saw all 6. I’d have them change cards with a neighbour sitting. It was always a hoot.

I once bet a guy $100 in a packed room that there wasn’t 3 F’s on the card.  He was solid in his conviction.  I said “Convictions create convicts.  Remember next time to count the F’s in the word OF.  Your 3rd grade teacher loved you dearly, but she taught you to pronouce it and sound it out and your brain still sees the letter V 30 years later.  You can pay me after the seminar at the back table when you line up to buy my stuff.”

The showmanship was in the impact delivery of the hook. Mine was, “A scotoma is a sensory blockage caused by environmental conditioning. Sometimes a scotoma can help you sleep at night when it blocks out the sound of a rainstorm. Sometimes a scotoma can cost you millions of dollars by causing you to miss a critical point in my talk that could change your life. I urge you to pay attention when I’m talking to you today. One idea that I share with you could change the financial destiny of your grandchildren.”

On the opposite side of my card was a big bold headline: YOU ARE ELIGIBLE FOR 3 FREE MONEY-MAKING GIFTS WORTH $675!

That second side of the card was coded with a special website. For example, /FREESTUFF2.html, /FREESTUFF3.html, etc. Each seminar I spoke at got a different code. That way I could track where my coaching clients came from. I learned this little trick from an author named Alex Mandossian.

My Perfect Business Card would generate leads. Lots of leads. It was a way to be memorable, and make a connection. But it had a third dimension that was the glue that embedded me long term into their subconscious memory banks.

Remember meeting Helen about 4 paragraphs ago? Eventually people are going to leave your presence and keep mingling or move on. Here’s the last trick that I pulled out of my hat. I’d say, “It’s been a pleasure meeting you Helen Biswitherick. I want you to remember me always. Please hold my card up to the light.”

She would comply, and see that in the top left corner there was a solitary hole, like it had been punched out with a hand punch.

“Helen, I have a feeling that we might meet again and perhaps even do business together one day. I want you to remember me always as the guy with the hole in his card. Can you do that for me?”

I guarantee that years later, Helen will still remember the word picture of me and see the light shining through the hole in the card that her mind wrote on the internal hard drive of her subconscious.

There you go!  Now you have 3 of my best ideas for designing your very own Perfect Business Card. I used to charge my personal coaching clients $500 just to learn that one process.  I’m giving it to you as a generous gift. Perhaps one day when we do business together you’ll remember me as that amazing guy that taught you the secret of the F Card with the hole in the corner?




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