So, you’ve got some new, classy business cards?
All you need to do now is go out and meet some good business contacts and hand over the card, right? Well, not exactly. There are a host of unwritten rules to effectively delivering a business card. Here are ten tips on how to make the right impression.
1) Remain un-crumpled
A scruffy or crumpled business card will make a bad first impression – keep them in a case or sleeve to protect them.
2) Stay up-to-date
Keep your business cards up to date. A card with a crossed out telephone number and a new one written underneath in pen can look sloppy. There’s a wealth of online and print-your-own business card services now readily accessible, so there’s no reason why your card should show old information.
3) Know your card’s whereabouts
Before going into a meeting or networking event, make sure you know where your business cards are kept, so you can hand one over with the minimum of fuss. If you have to madly search through all your pockets to find one, you run the risk of coming across as disorganised and dishevelled.
4) Know when
Typically, in a meeting business cards are handed out at the beginning but this is not always the case and will depend on the context. Use your common sense.
5) Discretion required
Hand business cards out with discretion. An exchange usually comes after a conversation where you have ascertained that the other person is someone who you would like to stay in touch with. Dolling cards out in twos and threes, and forcing them into the hands of people as you sashay past, sends out the message that these cards are of little value.
6) The right way
When handing out a business card, give it to the person in a way that means they don’t have to turn it around to read it.
7) Give compliments
When receiving a card don’t just put it in your back pocket and carry on. Spend a little time studying the card and make a comment when you receive it. Most business owners will have had an input into the design of the card, so offer a compliment especially if it has an unusual design.
8) Back off
Don’t be too pushy with your business card. If the person you are talking to doesn’t request yours, then ask for theirs. This will usually result in them reciprocating the gesture.
There is no point swapping business cards with potential business contacts if you do not follow-up after the initial meeting. Send a follow-up e-mail with reminder of your mutual interests together with a LinkedIn connection request.
10) Know the local culture
If you are in foreign climes, make sure you know the local conventions of business card etiquette. Handing a card over with your right hand seems to be a rule across most of Asia, where different etiquettes exist depending on the country you are doing business in.