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How to Use Good Business Card Etiquette

Posted on: July 3rd, 2012 by No Comments

You’ve designed and printed the perfect business card to represent your business or initiative. Now don’t just go shoving it into people’s hands like an executive bull in a China shop! There’s a certain protocol to follow if you want people to happily accept – and follow up on – your custom-printed business card. Here are some dos and don’ts on proper business card etiquette.

  • Don’t Leave Home Without Them

The first and most important rule of business card etiquette is actually having them on-hand. It may seem elementary, but let’s be honest: How many of us have found ourselves in a situation where we wanted to give out a business card but found ourselves empty-handed? Obviously, it’s important to have cards with you when you’re going to a networking event, but you may make important business contacts anywhere you go – the gym, the supermarket, you name it! By not having your business cards with you, you limit your chances of making important connections. So always be prepared!

  • Keep Your Cards Clean and Neat

No one likes to give or receive a bent, wrinkled, or coffee-stained business card! Get yourself a simple business card holder to keep your cards in mint condition. It can also help to have your cards printed on thick 16pt card stock or striking transparent or frosted plastic so that they keep a neat appearance.Silk laminated business cards with spot UV

  • Don’t Jump the Gun

No one is going to particularly dislike you if you offer your card before a single word is spoken. But they’re not very likely to take you seriously if you do. Shoving your card in strangers’ faces makes you look over-eager and makes you seem impersonal. It’s better to strike up a short conversation, make a personal connection, and introduce yourself before slapping your card into people’s palms. This gives the card meaning and will make people want to follow up.

  • Follow the Leader

Of course you’ll want to give your card to powerful people. But the person you’re engaged in conversation with clearly outranks you, wait for him or her to give you a card first or to ask you for your card. This shows that you respect the person’s position.

  • Don’t Give Your Entire Deck of Cards

Unless you’re a hairdresser and you just gave someone the coiffeur of her life, you should only give out one card to people you just met. Otherwise you give the tacky impression that you are looking to this new contact as a source of free advertising.

  • Honor Thy Neighbor’s Card

When you receive a business card, treat it the way you would like your card to be treated. Read it. Examine it. Compliment its design. Thank the giver. And finally, remember that networking isn’t a one-way street. You can follow up with the giver just as easily as he or she can follow up with you. You never know what can happen by following up on a new contact, but you can be sure of what will happen if you don’t bother: Nothing!