Business Card Etiquette

Business Card Etiquette

You’ve done it! You’ve designed an eye catching, informative and unique business card! Now what?

It was Marshall McLuhan who said, “The medium is the message.” If your business card is the message, the way you distribute it is the medium. Business cards are an essential promotional material due to their compact size. A portable 3 1/2″ x 2″ piece of stock is one of the easiest ways to introduce yourself to someone new.

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So how do you make sure your business card gets into the hands you need it to?

1. Keep cards with you at all times

You never know when a networking opportunity will present itself. Whether at a professional event or in line at the grocery store, you should be prepared to give a firm handshake and a business card. You will be continually surprised about which contacts end up benefiting you in the long run. Make sure to treat every outing as a networking opportunity, and be ready to pass on your contact information.

2. Be respectful and strategic

Your business card is not junk mail. If you don’t want it to get lost in the shuffle, make sure you deliver it in a way that is respectful of the person you are giving it to. Typically in social situations a business card should only be given to someone you have been speaking with and it is polite to wait until they ask you for it or offer you theirs. You do not want to disturb or interrupt someone to pass off your card. You must first make a good impression with your words and actions, following up with your card as a way to continue the conversation.

3. Give more than one card

Networking can be time consuming and exhausting. Let your network do the heavy lifting for you. Give each new contact more than one card, while casually asking them to pass them on to anyone else they may think is interested. Your network will grow without even trying.

4. Send out your business card with your correspondence

Due to advancements in print technology, it is more affordable than ever to have custom business cards printed. Unlike giving out your card in public, including your business card in outgoing mail is a great way to network. It is still important to be strategic and think of how adding your card to that piece of correspondence is beneficial.

5. Make it personal

After talking with someone, before you exchange cards, write something on your card about what you were talking about. This will help jog your contact’s memory after that mixer they spoke with you at and remind them why they wanted your contact information in the first place.

6. Follow-up

Typically when you hand someone your business card, you are also getting theirs in return. Make sure to follow-up within a few days with a quick email or phone call. Add something to the conversation you had earlier in the week and solidify the contact you made by taking it beyond your card.