Business Card Etiquette | Knowing the accepted customs for exchanging business cards helps you feel more comfortable in the business world and improves business relationships. Poor business card manners could insult the other party and everyone else in the room.
International business travelers are always studying up on business card etiquette so they can properly observe foreign business customs. In some countries such as Hong Kong the way you present and receive business cards is considered a strict and direct reflection of your business and can make or break any deal. Fortunately, business card etiquette in the U.S. is more relaxed; however, there are some guidelines for making a positive and lasting impression when giving and receiving business cards.
1. Wait for the Right Moment | Business Card Etiquette
While it is important to distribute many business cards, it’s just as crucial that you do so at the appropriate time. If your prospect is busy or distracted by others, you won’t get the one-on-one attention you want and you risk coming off as pushy. Wait until the conversation turns to business, and then politely offer your card face up. If your contact offers first, gladly accept and offer your own card in return. Avoid appearing aggressive with business cards. Wait to be asked for yours. If that isn’t happening, ask the other person for a card. There are some exceptions to the rule; for instance, business cards should always be passed out before formal meetings begin. This ensures that everyone in the room knows each others’ names and can increase overall meeting efficiency.
2. Keep Cards Clean and Crisp | Business Card Etiquette
Don’t hand out worn, dirty or faded business cards unless you want your business to look worn, dirty and faded. Make sure your cards are neat and clean and the edges are still sharp. Business card cases are inexpensive and will keep your glossy and matte cards in tip-top shape so you’ll be prepared when you run into that ultra-important contact.
3. Function | Business Card Etiquette
Business cards are a part of the first impression you make, so you must have a card free of damage and errors. Alternatively, you want to treat another person’s business card with the utmost care as his card is a part of his identity. Make sure to look over any card you receive, and consider commenting on it.
4. Global Etiquette | Business Card Etiquette
Almost every country uses business cards so make sure you have plenty in reserve when going abroad for business. Before traveling, brush up on the local customs regarding business cards. In China, for example, cards are inscribed with gold ink because it is a prosperous color. In India, list your academic credentials along with any job title.
5. General Etiquette Tips | Business Card Etiquette
Business cards are an internationally recognized means of presenting personal contact details, so ensure you have a plentiful supply. Demonstrating good business etiquette is merely a means of presenting yourself as best you can. Failure to adhere to foreign business etiquette does not always have disastrous consequences. When travelling abroad for business it is advisable to have one side of your business card translated into the appropriate language. Business cards are generally exchanged at the beginning of or at the end of an initial meeting. Good business etiquette requires you present the card so the recipient’s language is face up. Make a point of studying any business card, commenting on it and clarifying information before putting it away.
Knowing the rules of business card etiquette is just one more way to add the polish that builds profits. Store business cards in a leather case to prevent damage and appear more professional and make the most of your networking by regularly connecting with your contacts.