How you present and use your business card is an important part in building professional and profitable relationships. Your business card is part of your visual communications package. It is also a reflection of your professionalism. You should present your business card in such a way that it is remembered and kept by the recipient, and receive a business card in a manner that makes the giver feel important and respected. Follow these business card etiquette tips in order to leave a favourable first impression and watch business grow:
- Always ensure that you have your business cards with you – and plenty of them! Be ready to provide your business card when it is requested – whether at a networking event, client meeting, or socially. You appear unprofessional if you have to say, “I’m sorry, I didn’t bring any with me.” Opportunity – lost!
- Carry cards in a business card case to keep them fresh and protected from wear and tear.
- At a networking event, put a supply of cards in your suit pocket for easy access. Keep them in the right pocket. Place cards you receive in your left pocket.
- Present your card with the print facing the recipient so the recipient will not have to turn it around to read it.
- Give and receive cards with your right hand – the hand of discretion. This can make a big difference when doing business internationally.
- When receiving a card, take the time to look at it because a card is representative of the person who is giving it to you. Make a comment about their card, such as complimenting the logo, the business name or some other piece of information. This places value on the card and the person who presented it to you.
- Pay attention to the conversation you are having with a person who has presented their card to you. Write pertinent notes on the card later and out of sight to remember relevant and key details, especially if you wish to follow up with that person.
- Don’t give out a business card that is defective, out of date, or soiled. It is substandard business etiquette to hand out cards on which you have crossed off an old phone number and hand-written in the new one.
- Don’t pass out your cards like flyers. Handing your card out indiscriminately will make you appear pushy and unprofessional.
- Don’t force your card on anyone. Wait to be asked for your card. If that is not happening, ask the other person for a card. Reciprocity generally follows.
- Don’t offer your card too early in a conversation. Wait to see if there is a good business connection first.
- Junior executives don’t give or request cards from senior executives. Let the senior executive request your card, and only then should you present it.
- Don’t hand out your business cards indiscriminately at social events, like a dinner party. Do carry your business cards at social events in case a good business contact presents itself. But be very careful, especially in a private home. If cards are exchanged, both parties should be very discreet so as to not insult the host.
- Don’t leave a person’s card on the table. Take the card with you and dispose of it at your home or office if you are not interested.
Understanding business card etiquette is one more way to ensure you always leave a positive first impression and polish your professional image in order to influence the growth of your business or reach your career goals.
Erin Crotty is a certified business etiquette and professional image management consultant, as well as a certified executive coach. As Founder & Director of BloomStra Consulting, Erin helps her clients harness the power of etiquette and image management to build successful relationships in business and reach their professional goals. Her clients learn how to increase their confidence and credibility, distinguish themselves in any business or social situation and, ultimately, ‘Outclass the Competition’. Have questions? Contact Erin: firstname.lastname@example.org or 613-614-4540.