Saturday, September 13, 2008
Posted: 08 Sep 2008 01:14 AM CDT
To the unrefined or unbred, the visiting card is but a trifling and insignificant bit of paper; but to the cultured disciple of social law, it conveys a subtle and unmistakable intelligence. It’s texture, style of engraving, and even the hour of leaving it combine to place the stranger, whose name it bears, in a pleasant or a disagreeable attitude even before his manners, conversation, and face have been able to explain his social position. -Our Deportment
In the 19th and early 20th century, social interaction was a richly cultivated, well-mannered affair. The tool that facilitated these interactions was the calling card. Calling cards streamlined introductions and helped remind people of new acquaintances and needed visits. The calling card also served as a way to brand your social identity. The way your card looked and felt or the way you handed it to someone communicated your standing and relationship with the receiver. While the calling card had gone the way of top hats and knickers, they’re starting to make a comeback. What follows is a brief history of the calling card and how men today can resurrect this tradition to create some stylish panache in their social interactions.
The History of Calling Cards
During the 1800’s and early 1900’s the practice of “calling” upon or visiting one’s relatives, friends, and acquaintances was a middle and upper class social ritual governed by countless rules and traditions. Central to visiting etiquette was the use of the calling card. Every gentleman kept a ready supply of calling cards with him to distribute upon his visits. When calling upon a friend, a gentleman gave his card to the servant answering the door. The servant would be holding a silver tray and the card would be placed upon it. If the person the gentleman was calling upon was home, the servant would take the card to them and they would come meet the gentleman. If the person being called upon was not home, the servant would leave the card for when they returned.
Generally upon a gentleman’s initial visit to a home, he would simply leave a card and then depart. If the new acquaintance wished to formally visit with him, he or she would send a card in return. If no card was sent, or the return card was sent in an envelope, this signaled that the new acquaintance did not wish for a personal visit to occur. This signal (the card in an envelope) could indeed be sent after any visit in which the visited party no longer wished to be called upon by this particular person. It was basically the well-mannered brush off. A calling card was also used when a gentleman was desirous to see someone at a hotel or parlor. He would send up his card while he waited in the reception area or office for his acquaintance or business associate to come and greet him.
A man’s calling card was simple and plain in design. About the size of a playing card (they were toted about in a carrying case tucked in one’s breast pocket), they bore a man’s name, and later on, his address as well. The name was written in the center, sometimes with a middle initial and sometimes not. A young man did not preface his name with “Mr.” A military officer included his rank and branch of service. A physician could include his professional title, as in “Dr. Robert Smith,” or “Robert Smith M.D.” But honorary titles such as Prof., Hon., and Esq. were not acceptable. The card sometimes also included the name of the gentleman’s club or fraternal organization a man belonged to.
A man might have a set of calling cards that included his address and a set that left that space blank. This latter type of card would be larger and engraved with fancier writing. The blank space would be used for written notes inviting a friend to dinner or the theater or some other social event.
An engraved card was considered to have the most distinguished style, followed by a handsomely handwritten one, and if these could not be obtained, a nicely printed card would do. The precise rules governing card giving and the style of the card, from the type of font to whether to include your middle initial or not, changed each year and could leave a person a bit anxious about what was currently in fashion.
19th Century Calling Card Etiquette
The giving and receiving of calling cards developed a very elaborate set of rituals and rules that every gentleman tried to master. While one’s modern sensibilities might find these rigid formalities laughable, I’ve got to say there’s a certain appeal to it. Far more dignified than poking someone on Facebook, wouldn’t you say?. Just in case you step through a time warp and land in the 19th century, here’s your calling card etiquette survival guide.
- On a first visit to a household, a gentleman gave one card to each lady of the house.
- A married man had a medium sized card, while an unmarried man had a smaller card. Men’s cards were always smaller than women’s.
- When calling upon the lady of the house, if she was not home, but her daughter was, the gentleman sent in his card and departed, as it was not usual for a young lady to receive calls from a gentleman unless they were very intimate friends.
Special significance was given to the turning down of the card’s corners:
- A visit in person (as opposed to being sent by a servant): the right hand upper corner
- A congratulatory visit: the left hand upper corner
- A condolence visit: the left hand lower corner
- Taking leave (if you were going on a long trip): right hand lower corner
- If there were two of more ladies in the household, the gentleman turned down a corner of the card to indicate that the call was designed for the whole family.
Initialing a calling card
Gentleman would also inscribe initials upon the card to denote the reason for his visit. The initials stood for the following French words:
- p. f. - congratulations (pour féliciter)
- p. r. - expressing one’s thanks (pour remercier)
- p. c. - mourning expression (pour condoléance)
- p. f. N. A. - Happy New Year (pour feliciter Nouvel An)
- p. p. c. - meaning to take leave (pour prendre congé)
- p. p. - if you want to be introduced to anybody, send your visiting card (pour présenter)
Card etiquette regarding certain occasions
Congratulatory cards were best given in person, but it was acceptable to send a card in lieu of an actual visit. One month after the birth of a child, acquaintances were to call to offer their congratulations.
If you couldn’t attend the reception you would send a card and then wait until the couple announced the place of their new residence to send another or make a visit. But in the meantime you were expected to call upon the parents or relatives who had given the reception.
When a man’s wedding only included his family and closest friends, he would send his bachelor’s card, enclosed in an envelope to those of his acquaintances with whom he wished to remain friends. Those who received this card were expected to call on the couple within 10 days of them taking possession of their new home.
After a wedding, the friends of the bride and groom were expected to send their calling cards to the new couple. In this way, the couple would have all of their friends’ contact information on file and would be able to stay in touch with them.
Cards of Condolence
When someone passed away, acquaintances would send a card of condolence, which as mentioned, was indicated by folding down the left hand lower corner of your usual card. This card was delivered in person and the visitor would inquire after the health of the family before departing. When the bereaved once more felt up to receiving visitors, they would send cards to the friends and loved one who had left theirs, indicating their readiness to again visit with company.
Resurrecting the Calling Card in the Modern Age
When the household servants moved out, and Alex Bell’s new fangled talking machine moved in, the practice and etiquette surrounding the sending and receiving of calling cards suffered a slow death. The only place where calling cards survived was in the U.S. Armed Forces. Officers still carry on the tradition today. But quite happily for the modern day gentleman, they are now making a comeback in civilian life as well.
While technology has opened up a legion of ways to communicate these days, something within us still craves the transfer of something tangible, something more civilized and refined.
Enter the calling card.
Why not just use a business card?
During the heyday of calling cards, using a business card for a social purpose was considered bad manners. Today, while business cards are great for making business contacts, they still aren’t really suited for social situations. They probably have your work number and work email, and not much else on them. Think of all the times you meet someone you’d like to see again. Handing them a business card is too stiff and formal. Ditto for simply having them put your digits into their phone.
Oftentimes when meeting someone, the connection you establish is too new for your acquaintance to feel comfortable calling. Perhaps before pursuing more contact, they’d like first to check out your Facebook page or blog or send you an email. And how many times in a conversation does someone tell you about their website or their blog, and you swear to check it out, but then can’t remember its name when you get home? A calling card is the answer to all of these situations. A calling card can tell a new acquaintance more about you and help them better remember you. It provides a chance to enhance the first impression you make and gives your new acquaintances the ability to pursue a relationship with you in the way they feel most comfortable.
Designing a calling card
As aforementioned, during the heyday of calling card use, the design of men’s calling cards were fairly spartan, just name and address. Today it is more acceptable to create a calling card design that gives you a chance for a bit of self-expression.
How to design a card
Your calling card should reflect your personality. When someone puts your phone number into their cell, they may look at this entry some time later and fail to remember much about you. A calling card should include something to jog their memory (although in truth, currently simply giving someone a calling card should render you fairly unforgettable). Pick a color scheme, font, and design that convey something about you. But do remember, you’re still a gentleman, not a lady, so don’t make it too flowery or cartoony. You may still opt for simply having a traditional, plain card with only your name on the front. This of course, would likewise say much about your personality.
What to include on the card
To call upon a friend in the Victorian age, there was only one option-drop by their house. In our modern society, technology has provided a myriad of ways for a new acquaintance to contact you, and your card should reflect this. In addition to your name and phone number, consider including some (but certainly not all-you don’t want it to be cluttered) of the following pieces of information:
- Blog or website address
- Twitter username
- Facebook or Myspace name (if it’s different than the one on the card)
- Email address
- Instant message name
If you decide to go for a very traditional man’s design with only perhaps your name on the front, you can then tailor the information you wish to give to each individual you meet by simply writing on the back and making the desired additions.
Calling Card Design Ideas
Vintage inspired calling cards
Modern version of the calling card
Steampunk inspired calling card
A freaky, but effective calling card.
Art of Manliness calling cards
How to Use the Card
A calling card can come in handy in any social situation in which you want to exchange information with someone. Remember, you may use the blank back of the cards to write notes and invite someone to meet up with you again. For example, you might write, “Join me for coffee this Saturday, 3:00pm. Starbucks on 51rst and Harvard.” Or use the back to invite someone over for dinner and write down your address for them. Here are some more situations where a calling card would particularly come in handy:
- Class reunions. You’re going to run into a ton of people with which you want to exchange information. Instead of constantly busting out the pen and paper, just hand them your card.
- Networking between jobs. You’re not currently employed, so you don’t have a business card. Or if you do, it has your old employer’s info on it. While you’re looking for work, have a calling card ready to present to potential contacts and leads.
- Parties. If you’re planning an informal party or get together, write down your address and the time of the party on the back. When you run into people you’d like to see there, give them one of your cards and invite them over. Sometimes calling cards also come with small envelopes, sized to fit your card. You can therefore always use your calling cards as traditional invitations sent through the mail. Also, if your calling card comes with an envelope, you can use them as gift cards.
- The classroom. It’s often hard to make the leap from being “in-class” friends to “outside of class” friends. Give someone you enjoy chatting with in class your calling card. They’ll probably start posting on your Facebook page and your friendship will take off from there. Or use the card to set up a study group.
- Dating. When trying to meet a lady, it’s nerve racking to ask for her number, and if you foist yours upon her, she may not call you. Giving a potential lady friend your calling card is a great third option. First of all, it’s non-threatening. She may be too shy to call you outright. She may rather start off with a casual email. And she may not be sure about what she thinks of you. Giving her your calling card lets her peruse your blog or Facebook page first. Second, giving her your calling card gives you a chance to give a two minute blurb about the history of the tradition. You’ll immediately be set apart in her mind from the usual cads she meets and she’ll think you a true gentleman. Finally, when she takes home your calling card, it’s something tangible that will remind her of you and make it more likely that she’ll reach out and contact you.
Where to Find a Calling Card
Here are a few sites that offer calling cards that will appeal to the modern gentleman. Most will send you a sample before you buy, so you won’t be stuck with something you don’t like.
Crane & Co. (Nice, quality cards, priced between the low and high end)
The Stationery Studio. (Big selection, many are designed for women but there are many for men too, decently priced)
American Stationery (Only one design to choose from, but inexpensive)
Dempsey and Carroll (For the traditional gentleman with exquisite taste. Dempsey and Carroll have been in the biz since 1878. Very high quality. Very expensive. Custom made to your specifications.)
Piccolo Press (For our friends across the pond. Piccolo press still prints and engraves their cards the old fashioned way.)
For the frugal gentleman, or the man who doesn’t mind sacrificing quality for variety, you may wish to consider simply buying a box of business cards from Office Depot, downloading a business card template, and then printing them at home. They’ll be flimsy of course, but you can forever tinker with the font and design, and print new ones off that will especially suit a particular occasion.
Download Your Free Guide to Being a Gentleman in 2008.
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Friday, September 12, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
From my email:
Lessons from the Olympics
I just returned from witnessing 17 days of competition at my ninth Summer Olympics. To say it was memorable is an understatement. I watched Michael Phelps win his record eight gold medals, cheered on the "Redeem Team" to basketball gold, shared the excitement of the electrifying upset win by the men's volleyball team, and witnessed the best opening and closing ceremonies in history.
What struck me throughout is what goes into making an Olympic champion—or for that matter a gold-medal winning entrepreneur or manager. Here's my short list:
- Heart. I recently wrote a column on how heart trumps just about all the other senses when it comes to accomplishing the new and the unknown. There's no denying the heart of a champion. I witnessed the miracle of Rebecca Soni, who came back from heart surgery one year ago to qualify as an alternate for the U.S. women's swim team. When the opportunity arose for her to compete, she proceeded to win a gold medal in the 200-meter breast stroke in world-record time.
- Determination. An athlete can have the perfect body for a competition or the best coach, but if they don't have a deep-down burning desire to achieve something, they won't accomplish it. Sometimes desire is more important than talent. Determination can turn the ordinary into extraordinary.
- Dedication. The Summer Olympics happen only every four years, so for the little attention an athlete receives over 17 days of competition, there are many hundreds more days of grinding solitary workouts. There are no shortcuts in the world of sports and life.
- Goals. Athletes must stay focused on their goals above all else. Truly dedicated individuals won't let anything interfere with attaining their goals. That's why so few people become champions.
- Preparation. It takes a lot of sweat, sacrifice and discipline to become an Olympic champion. If it were easy to become the best, everyone would do it. No one can do it for them. Perfect practice makes perfect.
- Confidence. Athletes have to believe that they can win ... that they have done everything in their power to compete at the highest level. There can be no fear of failure. Confidence enables them to perform to the absolute best of their abilities.
- Concentration/Focus. I love to watch and study athletes as they are getting ready to compete. You can see them running through their races or routines in their heads. Nothing can distract them. (The lone exception was Dara Torres before one of her races when she made everyone wait because a competing swimmer had a torn suit. I guess we could add sportsmanship to the list.)
- Competition. The breakfast of champions is not cereal, it's competition. It is healthy. It keeps athletes sharp, makes them better and improves quality. Athletes should not only welcome stiff competition, they should actively seek it. They'll never realize their full potential in business or sports unless they're challenged.
- Mental Toughness. There are many things that can go wrong in life, so athletes must be mentally prepared for whatever happens. Sometimes they have to perform at their best when they're feeling their worst. Champions block out the pain and do what's necessary to win or get the job done.
- Vision. I learned long ago that projecting oneself into a successful situation is the most powerful means there is of attaining personal goals. Vision doesn't do the planning and it doesn't anticipate the obstacles. It gives a real idea of what is possible, if only they want it badly enough.
- Life is not always fair. Sometimes things happen that are out of one's control. Judging can be uneven, conditions may not be perfect and equipment can fail. Champions know how to deal with it.
- Don't let age be a deterrent. Look at 41-year-old Dara Torres, who proved to be the second fastest woman swimmer in the world and lost by 1/100th of a second. Or how about Romania's Constantina Tomescu-Dita, who at age 38 won the women's marathon. And don't forget John Dane III, who at age 58, made the U.S. Olympic sailing team for the first time after trying to qualify for 40 years.
- Fun. Above all, athletes have to love what they are doing to achieve gold-medal performances. It should be fun. One thing I will take away from the Beijing Olympics is the smile of Shawn Johnson from the women's gymnastics team. She showed unbridled joy, in both winning and losing.
Mackay's Moral: Go for the gold in whatever you do!
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
There is a lot of talk in the political arena right now talking about "experience". Unless you have had the exact job previously, there is going to be a learning curve.
Harvey Mackay wrote about this recently:
Harvey Mackay's Column This Week
Your first job on any job is to learn
A front-page story in USA Today got me thinking back to my youth and all the lessons I learned in my various summer jobs. The newspaper asked dozens of executives in major corporations about their first jobs and what they learned, as well as how they helped them in their careers.
The unanimous answer was all worked as teens and several of them before age 11. Many talked about hard work and the need to finish college.
Outback Steakhouse founder Tim Gannon said he has yet to meet a successful person who didn't have a great story about starting at the ground floor. "Great success comes from overcoming adversity," he said. "Without desire, you can't get to ambition."
Borders Group CEO George Jones talked about his 17-year-old son Dylan, who has not worked but rather has traveled extensively and visited more than 30 countries. "Travel is a learning experience that benefits kids greatly, and in all fairness to my son, we have made travel a higher priority than his having a job," said the elder Jones.
My parents were much the same. They encouraged me to travel as much as I could, but on my dime. When I was in high school I toured the western United States with two buddies. Then at age 21, we went to Europe and visited 16 countries. I'm still profiting from these trips.
Today's teens should think of every job opportunity as an important building block in life, no matter how menial it seems, according to Chris Kearney, CEO of industrial products giant SPX Corp. "A successful career is built incrementally, one step at a time."
I've always said your first job on any job is to learn. Donald Trump says: "Learn all you can. Try to view your job comprehensively as if it were your own business. Ask yourself: 'What kind of employee would I like to have?' Be that kind of employee."
Growing up, my father insisted there was no substitute for working odd jobs during summer vacations and Christmas holidays. I had a variety of short stints, from setting pins at a bowling alley to delivering newspapers to working at a golf course. In high school, I landed a neat job at a downtown St. Paul men's clothing store.
Now, peddling pants, socks, underwear, ties, hankies and occasionally a shirt or two may not sound like the most glamorous position in the world, but in retrospect, it was a great job. At a young age, I had an opportunity to learn about business, have a boss to report to, show up for work on time, handle money and credit, understand how customers shop and learn a little about the retail clothing industry. My boss, Chris, hammered these principles into my brain bank:
- Before you could count to "One-Mississippi," you greeted a customer at the front door with a "million-dollar smile" and said "Hello . . . may I help you!"
- Never put more than three ties on the counter. It will only confuse the customer.
- Once you get the customer to try on the pants, consider it a done deal.
- Never ring up a sale without asking: "What else do you have in mind?" and "Would you like me to introduce you to our best suit salesman?"
- Walk the customer to the front door and sometimes even out onto the street and look him in the eye say, "Thanks!" And then say, "Be sure and bring it back if you are not happy with it."
- Never, never, never start to lock up if a customer misses closing time by a few minutes.
- And, don't come to work in competitor's clothes, even if you are just a young kid peddling men's accessories.
This is the short list. Looking back, probably the greatest plus of the job was, whether I realized it or not, I was polishing my sales skills at a very early age.
When you are young, footloose, and fancy free, you don't have a care in the world. You are always in the "comfort zone." You don't quite realize the responsibility of holding down a legitimate job. Better said, you don't realize the importance of holding down a job legitimately.
Mackay's Moral: What you learn on your first job will last through your last job.
Miss a column? The last three weeks of Harvey's columns are always archived online.
More information and learning tools can be found online at harveymackay.com.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
I recall how I could go to the library and read old newspapers that were captured on film.
Pretty soon we won't have to do that anymore, which makes me wonder if the downtown ACPL will be needed in a few years?
70% of the general public still use Internet Explorer.
With the release of Google's Chrome last week, there are now 5 common browsers that you can use. (Yes, I know that there are other less common browsers too.)
Here are links to each of them, and they are free:
• Internet Explorer 8 (beta)
Monday, September 08, 2008
Do you have YOUR list?
Posted: 04 Sep 2008 08:05 AM CDT
|Written on 9/04/2008 by Ali Hale who writes about healthy eating for busy people at her blog, The Office Diet.||Photo Credit: Jayel Aheram|
Whether you’re a student, employee, or freelancer, chances are that you’ve come across lots of advice recommending that you use a to-do list. At its simplest, a to-do list is just a series of tasks that you want to get done today – but there are dozens of variations on this theme.
However elaborate your to-do list, it’s utterly useless to you if you ignore it. Anyone – however lazy – can scribble down an ambitious plan for the day, but if yours rarely bares any relation to reality, read on to find out how to make a to-do list work for you.
- What should go on your to-do list?
The first question to ask yourself is whether you’re including too much on your to-do list. If a task doesn’t need to be done, and you don’t want to do it, it doesn’t warrant a place on your list. (Feeling that you should do it often isn’t a good enough reason.)
Make sure the tasks you enter are single ones, ideally taking no more than an hour each. That means that instead of putting “Create website for client” on the list, you break it down into smaller chunks:
- Use the mock-up for client’s website to create the home page
- Create the other pages based on home page and enter dummy text
- Resize and reformat the graphics which the client supplied
... etc. If you want to learn more about how to “chunk” down a huge or seemingly impossible task, read Tim Brownson’s excellent (and funny) article Chunky Monkey Builds a Plane.
But don’t try to go into too much detail. If a task takes less than 15-20 minutes, it shouldn’t be on your list.m Eg. “Reply to email from Tom”, “Reply to email from Sue”, “Reply to email from Dave” don’t need to be separate tasks. But nor should you stop everything you’re doing each time an email comes in, in order to reply – you’ll waste a lot of time that way. Just put “Reply to outstanding emails” and do them all together as a batch. (Darren Rowse has a great post on Problogger about how he uses batching to work more effectively.)
- Use the mock-up for client’s website to create the home page
- Do you prefer a paper or electronic to-do list?
Some people like to keep things simple and write a paper to-do list; others take advantage of one of the many software tools out there to keep an online list. There’s pros and cons to both methods and it’s worth experimenting to find out what works for you.
If you spend a lot of time away from your computer (i.e. if you’re a student researching essays in the library), then try using a paper list – this served me well at university! Paper lists also work if you have a small number of tasks to do. For instance, if you work full-time but do a little freelancing in the evenings and weekends. I now use an electronic to-do list, but several friends have recommended the ebook Todoodlist if you do want to use a paper system.
For those who use a to-do list for their whole working day, an electronic version can help to keep things tidy – particularly when tasks need to be altered or postponed. I like the simple interface of Remember the Milk, which allows you to send in tasks by email and delegate tasks to other people. (It’s also free to use.) If you don’t have an always-on internet connection, though, you might prefer to use an offline solution – FruitfulTime’s Task Manager is worth a look.
- Should you assign priorities to tasks?
Almost every piece of task management software lets you assign priorities to the items on your list. Does this work for you? Some things to consider are:
- “Low priority” tasks often get postponed again, and again, and again...
- Should tasks be on your list if they’re unimportant?
- Failing to complete your whole list (including low-priority items) means you’ve overplanned your day – you need to use fewer tasks.
Some life coaches, such as Mark Forster, advise against prioritizing items: either a task needs to be done or it doesn’t, and you should be able to complete everything on your list in an average working day.
- “Low priority” tasks often get postponed again, and again, and again...
- Do you use a “closed” or an “open” to-do list?
Using a “closed” to-do list means that you write the list at the very start of the day (or even the evening before), and you don’t add tasks onto that list during the course of the day.
An “open” to-do list typically means starting out with a few tasks that need to be done, then jotting down more and more as emails and phone calls come in … and trying to get them done the same day.
The problem with using a “open” list is that it’s very easy for it to get too long. It’s also often an inefficient way to work. When you think of tasks that need to be done during the day:
- Write them down on tomorrow’s list (unless they’re genuinely super-urgent)
- Look at tomorrow’s list at the end of the day and assess whether the tasks you’ve written down are ones you really need or want to do.
- Shift some of the tasks to later in the week, if they’re not urgent.
This process ensures that you don’t end up getting distracted and doing jobs just for the sake of it. Of course, it’s easier to tell yourself, “I’ll get to that tomorrow” than to say it to a boss – so you may need to be a bit flexible if you’re in full-time employment. Even so, plenty of office work (i.e. emails from another department asking you for information) can wait until the next day.
- Write them down on tomorrow’s list (unless they’re genuinely super-urgent)
Sunday, September 07, 2008
I have been playing around with it for a few days, and today looked for some additional help.
Here's a couple of video's with some hints:
There's also a video of a press conference you can watch by clicking here:
Google Chrome (video)
Kim Komando wrote this:
Today's Cool Site...
The birth of the Internet
The Internet has changed the world profoundly. We use it everyday. But how much do you know about its history?
The National Science Foundation funds and supports research in many fields. It played an integral part in the creation of the Internet.
The NSF has put the story of the Internet online. You'll learn about the key innovations that shaped the Internet of today.
The story is broken up by decade, starting with the 1960s. You'll see interviews with the people involved at every stage.
Internet experts will also tell you what to expect for the future. If they're right, it's going to be a very interesting place.
TO VISIT TODAY'S COOL SITE, GO HERE:
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