Good Business Card Etiquette
Before we start, be sure to check out our other blog on how to make good business cards first.
Now that you have made professional looking business cards, what do you do with them, or more importantly, how do you handle them?
The way you handle business cards can say a lot about you and is an excellent way to give a good first impression. Here are five things to keep in mind when handling business cards.
- When to Bring Business Cards
Always. Networking does not have operating hours. You never know who you’ll meet at your local coffee shop, gym or grocery store. On the chance you do meet someone, you will be thankful you have your business cards ready. Having your business cards at a moments notice can show initiative and a level of professionalism even when you’re not on the clock.
- Where to store Your Business Cards
The most important thing to keep in mind is your business cards are meant to represent you, and remind people of not only your contact information, but also who you are. Just as a wrinkled shirt appears unprofessional, a wrinkled business card can convey sloppiness; it can come off like you don’t care. A briefcase, folder, or a dedicated card case are great protective places to store business cards. Some sources warn against storing business cards in wallets; however, some newer styled wallets are made of metal or have pockets made specifically for business cards. You can use personal discretion when it comes to storing them in a wallet.
- How to Give Business Cards Out
After you have networked with someone new, it is time to give them your business card to stay in contact. There are two scenarios that can happen. If you give your business card first, make sure to be aware of who you’re giving your card to and where in the world you are. Different countries have varying customs when it comes to handling business cards so if you are going to a networking event or business meeting be sure to do research beforehand. Two of the best practices is to use either your right hand or both hands when giving your business card. If the other person gave you their business card first, take note of how they hand it to you. Give your business card in the same way. Lastly, make sure the contact information is face up and oriented so the other person can read it.
- How to Receive Business Cards
Just like giving a business card, there are two scenarios that can happen. If you are offered a business card first, accept it with either your right hand or both hands. In the second scenario you will be offered their card in return. Since they received a card first, you will have the benefit of seeing how they accepted it. Take their business card in the same way.
- What to Do After Trading Business Cards
After receiving a business card remember, not only is your business card an extension of you, but other people’s business cards are an extension of them. DO NOT haphazardly handle someone else’s business card. Showing respect for someone else’s business card shows you respect them too. People will sometimes write on business cards, but I advise against that. It is not a bad idea to write notes about the other person or things you want to remember from your first meeting, but this should be done later while not in their presence.
Business card etiquette is often overlooked, but the small details are what say the most to potential employers in a first impression. Knowing how to handle business cards can give you a leg up on others. Lastly, remember to keep your business cards current and to frequently update new information. Don’t forget to read the other articles about business cards or check out these about other aspects of networking.