Etiquette of Exchanging Business Cards for New Entrepreneurs
A business card is more than just a piece of paper. It is a representation of yourself, your brand, and your business as a whole. That is why it is crucial to give your cards in the most polite way possible. Even the simple giving and receiving of business cards requires proper etiquette. The following are some pointers for effectively marketing your brand and yourself without offending anyone:
- Always present cards in both hands or in your right hand. Never hand one as if you were in a poker game. In some countries, giving a business card in your left hand is a big insult.
- When presenting your card, look the person in the eye and smile. It shows that you are well engaged.
- When receiving one, see to it that you look at the card and ask any questions, comment about, or clarify the information printed on it. Don’t simply slip it inside your pocket, wallet, or bag as it shows disrespect. It’s best to put it in a card case or planner.
- Don’t put your cards loose in your pocket as they can be bent, wrinkled, or dirty. Remember that they represent you and your business. You wouldn’t want people to perceive you and your brand as “bent, wrinkled, or dirty,” would you? Invest in a small card case.
- Hand out some cards even at informal occasions. There’s no rule that says you can only so do on networking events and other business gatherings or conventions. If you are conversing with someone casually, and he shows interest to your business, you can very well present a business card to him.
- Don’t hand out two or more cards to a new contact. This will make him think you want him to establish contacts for you.
- It’s alright to ask someone for his business card during your first meeting. But, if the person holds a higher position than yourself, wait until he offers you his card.
- It’s not a good idea to enclose business cards in personal cards, like condolence, birthday, congratulation, or get-well-soon cards.
- When being presented with a card, accept it in the same way it was given – either in both hands or your right hand.
- As soon as possible, add the information from the card given to you into your database. You would not want to ask the person for another card, as it’s very unethical.
- Timing is important. Wait for the right moment to ask for or hand in a card. Premature sharing of cards can convey cockiness. Never force it to anyone. After a meaningful conversation with someone or if you are interested to stay in touch, you can say “May I give you my card?” or “May I ask for your card?”
- Never present a card that’s tattered, bent or smudged, or that has written notes or reminders on it. This is bad manners.
- Don’t write notes or reminders to yourself on a business card while in front of the person who’ve given you the card. If you want to make notes about the business event or the person you’ve just meet, do so after you or the person leaves.