Business Card Etiquette

In the business world, business card etiquette is a must if you want to make a first impression. And this impression can have an impact on your business, either positively or negatively depending on how you do it. Business card etiquette helps people determine the proper and correct thing to do in a given situation, and there are some tips which can help even someone with no experience giving out business cards be successful.

What You Do with Business Cards Says a Lot About You

  • Make sure that you have enough business cards with you. There is nothing worse than asking for a card and being told that the person forgot them at home or did not bring enough. This makes you look unorganized and unprepared, pretty much unprofessional behavior, so always keep an extra stack of business cards in your car or briefcase so that you are completely prepared.
  • Do not give out business cards which are torn, ripped, stained, bent, folded, or in anything less than perfect condition. A business card holder will keep your cards crisp and clean, and that is important because these cards are a reflection of your business.
  • Do not cross out printed information and write in new information on your business cards. Printing new cards should be done instead any time your information changes, because a card that is not current leaves a bad impression and is not professional.
  • Do not force your business cards on anyone who does not show a genuine interest in your company or services. Wait until you are asked for a card, or the topic of conversation is business, before offering your business card. This will also save you printing costs and prevent waste.
  • When you receive a business card, do not hastily throw it in your purse or wallet. Take a moment to actually look at the business card and comment on it, then place it in a binder or card holder.
  • Do not give more than one business card to a person. Handing more than one card implies that the person is obligated to pass it on to someone else, so unless you have a referral agreement or the person asks for extras, just give them one of your business cards. If the person asks for more than one, it is acceptable to give them a number of your business cards.
  • If you are with a person who is higher in the company than you are, always wait for them to ask for your business card rather than just offering it. This shows deference and respect, and it will be appreciated and help you be remembered.
  • Make your business cards unique so that they stand out. Get creative and design a one of a kind, yet professional, business card that reflects your business and personality.
  • If you have a photo on your business card, keep it up to date. Do not use a photo of you in your twenties if you are fifty six years old. Make sure the photo on your business cards was taken within the last year, preferably in the last six months.

Article created on 7/28/2008

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