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A smile and a handshake may initiate a business deal but memory is served best by an attractive business card.
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Skills are premium products; do business with cards that impress.

High school. Trade school. College. The School of Hard Knocks. All of them are teaching institutions. But learning goes on continuously throughout life. A smile is a great asset when confronting the grizzled old moguls of the board room. A smile and a shiny pair of shoes can help put your best foot forward on the fast track. A briefcase can hold they key to success, or a sandwich.

Itís up to you to decide how much preparation will go into to creating a personal environment in which growth leads to recognition from peers and payroll managers. An employee who is well prepared and well versed in the culture of the office or the corporation will succeed in both good times and bad. The ups and downs of the stock market and the ins and outs of industry trends are easy to cope with for the employee who thinks creatively, and quickly.

Practice the perfect handshake

Nothing replaces knowledge but there are ways of augmenting oneís expertise so that a first-time encounter with a new client goes smoothly and ensures a favorable report. When meeting a new business contact for the first time, a smile and a handshake go a long way. The smile should include eye contact. And the handshake should be firm, not wimpy. A supply of premium business cards should be kept within easy reach. Shake hands. Give out a smile. Give out a business card.

An attractive business card is an impressive aid to doing more business, more often. Todayís business accessories are masterpieces of convenience and economy. Once you have made a contact and achieved a copasetic introductory meeting, itís time to make your new best business bud remember you. Acquire some personalized business cards. Consider adding a photo. Your handshake and your headshot can be a powerful combo.

Go for quality when expressing yourself

Clients will stay loyal for a lifetime if they know they are being treated with respect and concern for their bottom line. If you know your skills are premium grade, use premium business cards. Use printing services and photography services whose portfolios are works of graphic art. Find companies you can trust to supply the images and words that represent what you do in its best light. Brochures, post cards, newsletters and appropriate business stationary can convey your message in a professional manner theyíll remember.

Use role playing to perfect your speaking skills and maneuvers such as handshakes. A good handshake takes practice. Reach out with your hand so that the fingers seem a straight extension of the wrist. Donít angle the hand downward at the wrist. Donít shake hands with your fingertips, as if lifting a hot dog.  Be relaxed and flexible. Slide your hand into your partnerís hand so that the base of the thumbs interlock. The grasp should be firm but not overly powerful. The handshake is a grand way to bring you into close proximity to your new acquaintance.  And into his or her world of wheeling and dealing.

Make business contacts aware of your excellence

Once you have met and conquered a new business contact, it is time to maintain the relationship. A wham-bam business deal is sure to be a one-time treat if thatís where communication ends. Every business relationship ebbs and flows. A handshake leads to a deal. A deal leads to a contract. A contract leads to a long-term love affair. There are relationships that become intergenerational. The head of a business turns the account over upon retirement to a son. A daughter is groomed to carry on the family business.

Your clients will know they are being tended by a winner when you make casual mention of continuing education in your field. There are numerous courses taught at community colleges. Many are non-credit courses focused on the adult student who wants to learn more, and more. The right to distribute premium business cards is backed with a solid foundation of knowledge. Computer courses, management seminars, training retreats and the like go a long way toward ensuring that boundaries are pushed. But donít forget the smile, and the handshake.

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