How to Use vCard for your Contact Information

What is vCard

vCard is a file format standard for digital business cards so you can import contact information into your address book application without having to type it in. Wikipedia provides an overview of vCard that summarizes the enhancements introduced in each version. Currently work is underway on version 4. Sharp Innovation Solutions uses version 2.1 because it is the latest version that is widely supported.

Using vCard with Windows

People using the Windows operating system most commonly use one of the following address book managers:

  • – Outlook (all versions)

  • How to use vCard with Outlook

  • – Address Book Manager (Windows XP)

  • In the Address Book, on the File menu, point to Import, and then click Business Card (vCard).
    Locate the business card file on your computer or a network drive, select the file, and then click Open.
    When the business card is in your Address Book, a dialog box opens in which you can modify or add to the contact information.

  • – Contact Manager (Windows Vista and Windows 7)

  • Importing vCard into Vista or Windows 7 contact manager

    Using vCard with Mac OSX

    All version of the Mac OSX operating system use the Address Book application which can import vCards. If you downloaded a vCard, choose Import vCards (Command-O) from the File Menu in Address Book. If you received it in Mac OS X’s Mail application, simply drag it from the email message across to Address Book.

    Using vCard with Linux

    If you are using Linux you probably know how to import vCards. Linux and vCard links.

    Scenarios for Using vCard

    The Internet mail Consortium, who is responsible for the vCard standard, provides a summary of scenarios for using vCard.

    Converting vCard to Other Formats

    If the application you use for contact and address information doesn’t support the vCard format you may want to convert the information to LDIF (LDAP server Data Interchange Format) or CSV (Comma Separated Values) which are formats for directories or spreadsheets that are supported by many applications (e.g. Thunderbird, Gmail, Hotmail). Web site for converting vCard to LDIF or CSV.

    Impact Investing can make a Difference

    As a toastmaster I found the pacing in the speech distracting – stand your ground man – but the message is heartfelt, thought provoking, and inspiring about how to change the world by combining philanthropy and investing.

    Sasha Dichter: The Generosity Experiment | Video on TED.com

    The best investment mix for each person will be different but the key message is that impact investment in people can make a difference to chip away at problems that many have thought were impossible to solve.

    Ignite: How Speakers Prepare

    Ignite is an event where speakers have 5 minutes to present 20 slides that are auto-advanced every 15 seconds. It is a bit like speed chess where timing is a big part of the game.

    Interesting survey data from Scott Berkun on how speakers prepare for ignite presentations.

    Conclusion is that excellent speeches take a lot of preparation, even for pros, and that generally speakers don’t rehearse enough.

    Why are professional speakers so good? One explanation is that they do a speech many times to improve it. They also prepare and rehearse more than regular speakers.

    Networking for Results

    This past Thursday I attended the Ottawa chapter of the Certified Management Consultants meeting which had the theme of networking. The meeting was in a real nice facility where Bitheads does business. It has a comfortable area for mixing and mingling and a theatre for the guest speaker Michael Hughes to present:

    “Turning 3 minute Conversations into long term relationships and lasting results”

    I was impressed by Michael’s content and presentation. As a toastmaster I couldn’t help but evaluate Michael’s speaking style and passion. I thought he did a wonderful job as a speaker and reinforced his points by getting the audience engaged in some short exercises. With his wealth of experience he had lots to share and he did it most effectively by breaking the information into manageable chunks.

    I particularly liked Michael’s networking model that has 6 phases. He explained not only what needs to happen in each phase – he also identified the most common myths and hangups people have with each phase and what can be done to overcome them. Michael provides a free document summarizing his networking model on his web site – www.networkingforresults.com.

    Mixed in with all the practical advice and wisdom was the really effective use of stories to reinforce his points. I especially liked his story of sitting down with the chairman of the board (his wife) to do a startup company review. I think all the small business entrepreneurs in the audience could relate to the struggles and desire to do better faster.

    I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend Michael to anyone who is interested in improving their networking skills. I really believe in Michael’s key point:

    Put relationships first with a sincere desire to help and business will follow.

    The Compound Effect of the Growth Mindset

    I have written before about the importance of attitude.

    The contrast between the growth mindset and fixed deterministic mindset is just another example of the importance of attitude and mental models for perceiving how the world works and can work. Carol Dweck’s book, Mindset is a valuable reference to understand the importance of mindset to living the best quality life.

    The Growth Mindset presentation provides:

    • a framework on how the growth mindset relates to how our brain operates
    • problems associated with our lizard brain fears
    • how a growth mindset can help us deal with our fears and problems
    • the benefits of adopting a growth mindset
    • an action plan for achieving results with a growth mindset

    Lizard Brain

    It could be useful to refer back to another article I wrote on focused goals for several references on dealing with the lizard brain. This is an ongoing battle that is not to be underestimated. The lizard brain can not be shouted down, argued with, or ignored. Some say this just gives it more power. The recommended approach is to calmly listen to the lizard brain and unemotionally acknowledge that this is a point of view (usually based mostly on fear) that may not be accurate, whose risks could potentially be minimized by planning and action, and that alternatives are possible which may be better than avoiding the fear. This is similar to some techniques that are advocated in learned optimism (disputing limiting beliefs and energizing yourself to take action). This is also summed up in the excellent book Feel the Fear … and Do It Anyway by Susan Jeffers.

    Growth Mindset Chain of Events

    Nigel Holmes has done an excellent graphic contrasting the fixed mindset with the growth mindset and how a series of decisions with a different mindset can lead to a cascading chain of events that leads to divergent life paths. One way, the fixed mindset, leads to a limited life based on fear. The other, growth mindset, offers the potential for ongoing growth.

    The chart, A Matter of Mindset, contrasts the vicious cycle and virtuous cycle that can occur with different mindsets in a business context. Just like in systems theory the feedback loop caused by the mindset difference can cause a self reinforcing downward or upward spiral that ends up with vastly different results.

    Want to have a lucky life? Here is the formula from The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy publisher of Success magazine:

    Preparation (personal growth) + Attitude (belief/mindset) +

    Opportunity (good things coming your way) + Action (doing something about it)

    = Making your Luck

    The Compound Effect makes a compelling argument that achieving success is more about the life trajectory you set yourself on by many small decisions you make each day. The compounding effect of these decisions tends to be underestimated because the results escalate over time rather than being instantly observable. Decisions influenced by a growth mindset attitude will eventually lead to results that are vastly different than those achieved by playing it safe and being limited by the fears of the lizard brain.

    Growth Mindset Action Plan

    If you are convinced of the benefits of the growth mindset as summarized in the attached presentation and chain of events how do you get started? Here are some suggested action steps:

    • Take the mindset test online to see what your current mindset tendencies are
    • adopt the growth mindset by practicing techniques to migrate towards this way of thinking
    • seek stage time (opportunities to practice your craft) by embracing uncertainty, seeking new experiences, and broadening your repertoire.
    • Read Carol Dweck’s Mindset book and use the resources on her web site to strengthen your implementation of the principles.