6 rules of business card etiquette


Business cards are an important marketing tool for any business owner. They are used in business meetings as an introduction and left with potential customers as a means of getting a foot in the door. Here are 6 professional rules about business cards :

1. Clean and clear

Many times, a business card serves as the first impression that a potential client has of you and your business. It is therefore extremely important that the business card is clean and the contact details are clear and accurate.

2. Treat with respect

A business card should be treated with the respect that you would treat the person handing it to you. Don’t discard it abruptly and put it down without looking at it.

3. Appreciate the local culture

In Asian cultures, use two hands to give and receive cards, and place your counterpart’s card on the tabletop during a business meeting. In cultures such as Japan, the exchange of business cards is a very formal and respectful process, taking a great deal of time. While on business trips abroad it would be great to have one side of the card printed in the local language.

4. Read it

Read it when it is handed to you. Look at it and leave it out so that you can refer to information on it if needed during your meeting. It is polite to comment on the card before putting it away rather than immediately stashing it in a pocket without looking at it.

5. Have extras

Always be prepared with enough business cards – including extras – when attending any type of business meeting, conference or seminar. Chances are there are going to be additional people there that you had not anticipated. If you do, however, run out of cards, make sure that you get the contact information for the people who did not receive one and have a card sent to them afterwards.

6. Keep them handy

When networking, keep your business card case handy in an easily accessible pocket. It’s too difficult to rummage for cards at a stand-up reception while you are balancing a plate and beverage glass!


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