A few weeks ago I was in a meeting for a local networking group. It’s an open, but otherwise structured group. We were passing each other’s business cards around the table, one by one. Once we all had one of everyone’s business cards, we began, one at a time, to introduce ourselves to the group. We’d say who we are and what we do and perhaps talk a little about what we’re up to and what kinds of clients we’re hoping to find.

We had a number of real estate agents, some financial planners, direct sales people, craftsmen and women, freelancers and small business owners. There were a few people who weren’t sure what they were doing yet and hoping someone in the group could help them. It was a mixed, but otherwise vibrant group of people in that room.

Now, when I go to a networking function such as this, I realize this interaction is contrived and can, at best, serve as a launch point for a more authentic connection. So, as everyone is speaking, I’m making a point to listen intently to what each person was saying, hoping to get a sense of which levels this person and myself might be able to connect on. Every so often, I’d think, “this is a person I’d really like to get to know better”. One such person, we’ll call her Jen, caught my attention, running her business in a unique way, and interested in partnerships, and she used the opportunity to announce her new logo to the group.

When we’d heard from everyone, we ended the meeting and had about half an hour to chat with anyone who wanted to stick around. I spoke to at least 10 people that day, but wasn’t able get all the way to Jen before she slipped out the door. I had her business card though, complete with a new logo!

When I arrived home, I was carrying a stack of about 30 cards. I don’t like to do anything “administrative” while I’m trying to connect with someone in person, so I was relying on the business cards to help me establish names and faces of all the people I’d spoken to. And especially Jen.

Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find Jen, even though somewhere in that stack of cards was Jen’s. It seemed so distinct at the time, but now was a needle in a haystack.

With that big stack of business cards, only about 5 of them had a picture on them, none of them were Jen. Then, of the rest, only a handful more had a photo of that person on the website. Then of the rest of those, only a handful turned up images in a Google search. Just under half the cards in that stack provided no pathway to reconnecting their face and their name, and Jen’s was apparently among them. What a shame, if Jen had a headshot we may have been able to help each other’s businesses. I might have even been a client.

Few business owners will debate whether they should get a business card. Almost all of us need them. We all agree a logo is necessary. Yet, neither of those things were sufficient enough to call that person out from my memory. I needed to see their face to recall the nuances of their character or concept which caused me to take note of them in the first place.

You should consider a headshot as a fundamentally important part of starting and operating your business in the modern day. We don’t always get to connect in storefronts and we’re not always seeing our customers and prospective clients face to face. If you want to make and cement an impression in a digital age, you need a headshot. You need a headshot.