Business Card Exchange Protocol
Wednesday, March 23 2016
One aspect of etiquette that is of great importance is the exchange of business cards. Remember, Business cards are an extension of your brand and what you represent.
Demonstrating proper business etiquette is a plus while interacting with colleagues, customers, or prospective clients. At what point should you hand out you business or complimentary card. Knowing what to do and say at the right place and time are crucial elements necessary in establishing and forging relationships or opening up new lines of communication. Under listed is our fifteen tips of business card exchange protocol:
- Appearance - Your business card represents your brand. It should be in good shape, current, clean and neither soiled nor tattered. Opt for a bespoke card from OpulenceConsult.
- Storage - Carry your cards in a leather or metal card case to prevent it from bending or tearing. This keeps your cards in good condition and reflects an image of organization and professionalism.
- Accessibility - Before setting off for an event, place your business card case in an easily accessible pocket or your briefcase. Also, be sure to have a good supply of cards on hand. Searching your pockets for your card is embarrassing, but running out prior to being introduced to an important client is even worse.
- Issuing - Have two cards ready to distribute when you visit an office. When meeting with a new client at their office, present your business card to the receptionist. This will help him or her announce your arrival. A receptionist or executive assistant often plays the role of a “gatekeeper,” so this also helps portray a positive image with him or her as well. Hand the second card to the person you are meeting.
- Presentation - Present your card so the print faces the recipient. This way, when they receive it, they can read it without having to turn it around.
- Timing - The protocol of exchanging business cards should normally follow an introduction or handshake.
- Receiving - When receiving a card, take a moment to read/study it. A person’s card represents him/her, so never receive it and stuff it in your pocket. Having it out during conversation allows you to refer back to it while in conversation in case his/her name slipped your mind. Once you walk away, you may put it in your card case.
- Handling - Never just stuff the business card in your pocket, particularly your back pocket, which is paramount to throwing it in the rubbish.
- Ranking - Junior executives do not ask for a card from a senior executive. Usually the senior or higher-ranking person starts the process. It is impolite to ask for the card of someone higher in rank than you are. Let the senior executive request your card and only then should you present it.
- Reciprocity - If one person asks for a business card, the other should offer his or hers in return. Not doing so is considered rude.
- Requesting - During an office visit if the host does not offer a card, as the guest, you can request one before leaving. If cards are in a holder, ask first before taking one.
- Courtesy - Never write on a person’s business card in their presence. Writing notes about the person who gave you a card is very helpful, e.g. the date you met them, the occasion, and any follow-up, but do not do this while talking with the individual.
- Distribution - Do not pass your cards out like you are advertising an upcoming event. Handing out your card erratically will appear aggressive. Never force your card on anyone early in a conversation.
- Instances - While attending a social function at someone’s home and a business opportunity presents itself, it is acceptable to exchange business cards. However, it should be done discreetly in this setting. Never produce a card during a private luncheon or dinner where you run the risk of your host seeing the exchange.
- Context - Don’t hand out your card during a meal; wait until it’s over.