Proper business card etiquette is key if you want to be able to network effectively. While a proper business introduction can lead to a valuable business contact or a lucrative contract, a poor performance may lead to an awkward moment or a negative impression of you or your business.
Your Card Is Your Image
Once a business meeting, conference, or convention is over, your card may be the only thing your new contacts have to remind them of you. Make sure you leave them with the best impression possible. Old, worn, and outdated cards present an unprofessional image. If you have updated your cards by crossing off typed information and then handwriting in new information, people may assume that your business is doing so poorly you cannot afford to get new cards.
Wait for the Right Moment
Never hand your card to someone to whom you haven’t spoken. Many people pass their cards out to people at conferences or conventions without even bothering to introduce themselves. They might as well skip a step and throw their cards directly into the trash. If you are in a conversation with someone, don’t offer them your card unless they ask for it. If you are at the same level in the business hierarchy, feel free to ask them for their card if you want it. If you do ask for it, and they give it to you, take a moment to make a comment about the card. You can complement the design or logo or ask for a clarification as to the pronunciation of their name. If you are speaking to someone who is higher up the business ladder than you are, don’t request a card or offer yours. If they want your information, they will ask for it, and if they want you to have theirs, they will offer it. If someone does ask for your card, feel free to write a short note on the back reminding them of where they met you and what you discussed. Never give someone more than one card unless they ask for more.
Know When It’s the Wrong Moment
Do not include your business card in personal correspondence like birthday cards, anniversary cards, or condolence cards. If you know the person well enough to be sending them a personal card, you know them too well to be sending a business card.
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