Business cards are a traditional way of exchanging information with potential customers and business contacts. As you trade cards, both you and your new acquaintance can be confident that you will instantly know how to get in touch with each other if the need should arise. As you hand out your next card, make sure that you follow these simple business card etiquette rules to make sure that you don’t send the wrong message:
• Carry your business cards everywhere.
It looks unprofessional to not have a card to exchange after someone hands you theirs.
• Don’t ask someone else to distribute your business cards.
Handing someone a stack of cards “just in case” someone else wants one is unprofessional and wasteful.
• Don’t use your business cards as scratch paper.
It’s perfectly acceptable to jot down relevant information on the back of a card that you have received from a potential client, but it makes little sense to use your own business cards for notes. If you throw them away later, you’ve wasted a valuable resource. Giving someone your business card after it has been written on is sloppy, disrespectful, and unprofessional.
• Never leave a stack of business cards without permission.
Leaving cards at related businesses is a good idea, but you should always ask first and offer to reciprocate.
• Never write on the front of a card that you have received from a potential business partner.To show that you respect the other person and consider them an equal, make notes on the back of their card.
• Never use a business card to replace a face-to-face conversation.
When people pass out cards at the end of a meeting or lecture without speaking, those cards usually find their way to the trash. Always have a discussion with the person you’re giving the card to and allow the card exchange to be the final handshake of the encounter.
• Don’t comment on the business card in front of the giver.
You may be tempted to comment about a particularly striking card, but this indicates you’re not focused on the conversation. However, you should read the card to make sure that it has the necessary information before placing it in a secure location.
• Always thank the giver for their business card.
This sends the message that you respect them and look forward to forming a business relationship with them.