Business Card Etiquette for Young Professionals

Despite changes in technology, a tried-and-true method of getting new contacts involves the exchanging of business cards. This doesn’t mean haphazardly passing out your card to anyone you encounter, as there is a specific business card etiquette you should follow for the best results and to assure that you are remembered in the best way.


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  • Don’t pass out your card to everyone you meet. Not only is this a waste of your resources, but it can also be annoying, as people equate this to getting spam email. Wait until you have had a chance to meet someone and talk with him or her a bit before handing out your card.
  • You should also avoid leaving your business card in random places in the hopes that someone will find it and take advantage of your services. Doing so can reduce your credibility considerably.
  • If someone asks for your card, give it freely, even if you have not yet had a chance to meet that person. When you do, it can also be a good idea to get his or her contact information in return, so you will have a way of following up.
  • Write a personal note on the back to remind the recipient how you met or what you talked about. This will make that person feel special, and also makes it more likely your business card will be kept rather than tossed out.
  • When asking for another person’s card, make sure you actually plan to use it for a legitimate purpose. Do not ask for cards just to make others feel better about themselves, and do not promise to contact someone if you have no intentions of doing so.

If you follow these easy tips, you’ll be better able to build leads and nurture relationships through the use of business cards. For more information, contact The Sherwood Group.

Over the years we’ve seen thousands of business cards. Given this experience, our friends at decided to write The Complete Guide to Business Cards: a step by step guide to business card content, design, printing and distribution (102 pages). If you are a small business owner or an independent professional who exchanges business cards on a daily basis, then you might like to check out this guide.

The Complete Guide to Business Cards

If you enjoyed this post, you may also want to check out these others:

4 Tips for Entrepreneurs Looking to Grow Business
3 Ways to use LinkedIn Groups to Grow Your Professional Network
Greeting Cards: Are They a Thing of The Past?
How To Amp Up Your Visibility With Facebook
10 Surprising Social Media Statistics [Infographic]
15 Statistics That Prove You Need Mobile Email Optimization

This article is published by Will Sherwood | The Sherwood Group |Website Design | Graphic Design | Marketing Communications: The Sherwood Group has over 30 years of experience working with all sorts of companies, small and large. Our clients range from entrepreneurs to Fortune 500 firms, in nearly every business sector, from across the street to around the world (and yes, even Europe, China, and South America). Our goal is to create advertising,  graphic design, website design, and marketing communication that still looks fresh and relevant 10-15 years later. Our mission is to stir your imagination and leave your competition shaken and wondering,  Now what do we do?”  We are located in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.

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Please comment. We’d like to know if you found this article informative or helpful?



  • By Barbara Jordan 08 Oct 2014

    Hey Will – good subject as usual.

    I once traded cards with 2 guys at an industry event scheduled meeting. Afterward we shook hands and they left. Then I noticed that they’d left my cards (2) on the table. I wasn’t impressed. When I got back to my office, I simply put their 2 cards in a company envelope and mailed it back to them – no explanation or note. I found out awhile later that they had gone out of business – I wasn’t surprised.

    the message – if someone gives you a card, put it somewhere safe and, at the very least, pretend you value it. I keep people’s cards for reference and often as a courtesy to them, especially after what happened to me.

  • By Edgar Valdmanis 09 Oct 2014

    My advice to all is
    a) always bring cards
    b) always ask for the other person´s card first. That way it is natural to give your own card in return. If they don´t have one, give yours and ask them to send an email with their details. If they are keen on doing business, they will. If you are keen on doing business, find some way to remember their company and personal names without a card, or without waiting for the email.

  • By Bernie Siben 09 Oct 2014

    I’m troubled by the suggestion about writing on the back of the business card. I used to do that all the time. But many years ago, I was told that in some Asian cultures, when you are seen to write a note on the back of someone’s business card (to better remember them, to remind yourself what you promised them, or for any other reason), it is perceived as making the card’s owner lose face. I would have to wonder what that same person would think of me if I gave them one of my own cards with writing on the back. Would I be starting out from a weaker or less important position, having caused myself to lose face? So now I carry 3″x5″ note cards with my logo and contact information in case I have to write something about the person I just met.

  • By Mark Gregg 09 Oct 2014

    I think Barbara experience us appalling. But with everything there are the rotten apples who are predatory. I would simply say this. If when I have come to the end of my time with you, I have failed to make a positive impression, it won’t matter how many cards I give you or in what manner. I am horrible about remembering to carry business cards and actually give them mostly to those I may be calling to buy something from. Don’t put too much weight into something that most people buy in the thousands for $9.99. If you have the good fortune of being in front of your prospect, make that moment count and its almost guaranteed they will take your call because you were remembered.

    • By Will Sherwood 10 Oct 2014

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments, Bernie and Mark. They are sincerely appreciated. Hopefully they will be stimulative of even more discussion.

  • By Frantzworld 13 Oct 2014

    Handling business card is an art, some people found problem with it because they haven’t mastered it. Business card is old schools and work every time if you know how to

  • By Stefan Peterson 13 Oct 2014

    I have to say, as a young professional myself, this is excellent information. It’s high time I make my very own business cards, and I really like previously mentioned idea about having your picture on your card. Do you guys have them designed and printed locally or do you do it all online? Because if it’s the latter, I would sure appreciate a referral to a good site.

  • By James Hogg 13 Oct 2014

    Great question Will. For me it was during an exchange of business cards at an expo that the vendor gave me someone else’s card. Not once but twice! A classic example of keeping your cards separate from your contacts.

  • By Thomas BORDES 13 Oct 2014

    QR Codes are interesting, but never really became popular: a fraction of the population will be able to tell what it is and how it works; out of this fraction, yet another fraction will confirm they have an App installed on their Smartphone to scan the QR… Can be relevant to address a community, then 🙂

  • By Shaun Caldwell 13 Oct 2014

    Sage advice Will. There is something to be said about having a physical business card. We always tell our customers to treat your business card like your website – clear, concise, useful, and designed with care. When presented in the correct way it can serve as a powerful branding tool and help those who meet you better remember you and what your business offers. First impressions are formed within the first 7 to 17 seconds of meeting someone. Your business card can help you nail that first impression. Get it right!

  • By Courtney Dickson 13 Oct 2014

    This is not exactly a response to the original question but the conversation seems to be heading in the direction of what is relevant in today’s market. I think business cards are on their way out. Their only real relevance today is in networking situations and in that situation, I definitely see a value in having your photo on the card. Otherwise, by the time I meet someone face-to-face, 99% of the time, I have already communicated with them via email and I already have their information. The business card usually goes into the recycling.

  • By Chloe 13 Oct 2014

    QR codes were a nice tool but none is using them anymore. I used to put one on my resume but not anymore. I think picture on the business card is great, especially when you need to remember someone face (or linkedin) but i am wondering, are we still going to use a business card or is that trend to disappear?

  • By Carolina Dursina 13 Oct 2014

    I thought we are talking about Business Cards not Credit Cards.
    Then, yes @Kim Zinn, handing cards around with no rapport is not the way to go. At least introduce yourself and ask for their (the other party’s info) cards as well.

  • By John Polly 13 Oct 2014

    While handing out business cards, the biggest mistake I have seen is salespeople just taking the busines card and putting it into their pocket without looking at the card while in front of the person who gave it to you. This subconsciously might telegraph to the person that gave it to you that you aren’t really interested in him/her except for what you can get from them. Instead, make a conscious effort to glance and look at the card as the person gives it to you, it will resonate with them that you are genuine and do care about what they do, their role, title, etc. This is foundation for building long lasting business relationships that are 2-way.

  • By Joe Caruso 13 Oct 2014

    And for your convenience, here’s what you posted:

    Once you’ve made a connection at a business event it is much easier and graceful to ask someone for their business card. Look it over carefully and offer your card in return.

    And if you’re on your toes ask them if they are on LinkedIn and then ask if it’s okay to send them an invite to connect.

    You won’t get cards from everyone in the room, but is that what you really want anyway?

    The person with the most business cards doesn’t win the game.

  • By Aaron Young 13 Oct 2014

    I have had experiences on both sides of the aisle. You would think that business card etiquette would be a common sense issue, but it obviously isn’t. I actually use a person’s ability to handle this relatively simple interaction as a window into their personality and possibly a barometer of whether or not I want to do business with them. At the very least, it gives me a slight sense of how deeply to trust them at their word or business ethics. I tend to tread lightly with those folks who don’t handle this interaction well. Good article.

  • By Ben Baker 13 Oct 2014

    One thing that I would like to add is that the cards themselves say a lot about the person handing them out. Cheap cards, or crooked ones tell more about your company than you think. We have always suggested that CEO’s carry two sets of cards. One that they hand out to the majority of people that have their admin assistance’s phone and email address on them and a special one that they hand out to a select few and make a big deal about it.
    Having the ability for someone to write on the back of your card is a big deal. Think matte stock for the back or unvarnished with room for people to scribble
    Weight of stock can be a big thing as well as the texture of the cards themselves. We just did some cards for a client that are laser etched on metal. They are a steel fabricator and only hand these cards out to special clients and prospects, but the point is made very quickly.
    Lastly, consistency of brand. Make sure all people’s cards in your company are printed at the same place, at the same time in the same way. That way, it is a consistent stock, the logo is consistent in size, shape and colour and if people get a bunch of your people’s cards the message is we care about consistency, quality and brand.
    Have a great weekend.


  • By Gerard Rebalsky 13 Oct 2014

    While ordering business cards once, I copied and pasted a phrase contained in a hyperlink that I wanted to appear on the back of the cards. When I received the cards, the entire URL was printed instead (taking up the entire back of the card) lol. I received them the day before I had to attend an event. Oof! Oddly, I used them anyway as the front of the card looked fine (I gave them out only sparingly and when specifically asked) – and it turned out to be a conversation starter and a good way to break the ice – and several people followed up with me!

    Lesson- it’s not what you’re handed, it’s how you handle it that counts.

  • By Jon Franko 13 Oct 2014

    My biggest mistake is not having a business card. I’m guilty of that so often. There’s no excuse!

  • By Bennet Bayer 13 Oct 2014

    Interesting advice, which could become insulting in a global perspective. Around the pacific rim for example you ALWAYS present a card upon meeting. In the exchange you should read the other person’s card and ask a question (“is this your personal mobile?”) – anything to indicate you have read it and acknowledge the person’s position and responsibility.

    I appreaciate customs in North America differ; however, unless you are suggesting marketers should be come more like the French (quite insulated and focused on business only in France) a more global recommendation to our younger peers might be more helpful.

  • By Tom Roberts 13 Oct 2014

    All good tips, but I can go you one better; get a RingWord.

    * You can’t lose it.
    * You won’t need to carry business cards.
    * You can’t run out.
    * It’s easy to remember
    * ALL of your contact information can be stored under your RingWord.
    * You can change your contact information any time.
    * If you are speaking at a conference you can give out your RingWord to everyone in one sentence at the same time.
    * It’s approximately the same cost as 1000 business cards

  • By Gina V. Dimayuga 13 Oct 2014

    A good practice is you hold the card with two hands by the bottom corners, give a little nod and then reach it out to the client. They then repeat this back to you. This is the standard practice here in the Philippines (unless the exchange [of business cards] is between long-time friends). Front-liners/New employees get this in their orientation sessions too.

  • By Daniel Puzny from Strategineer 13 Oct 2014

    In Japan (and many Asian countries) you hold the card with two hands by the bottom corners, give a little nod and then reach it out to the client. They then repeat this back to you,
    This American guy came into the room late in Tokyo, walked around the table and just flicked his card in front of each person seated and then promptly sat down. He flicked them cards like a las vegas card shark, I could hardly compose myself.

  • By Macrae Cain 13 Oct 2014

    1) I don’t like cluttered business cards. Too much information or graphics makes it hard to read and overwhelming. Too many listed services implies that you may be able to do many things, but you probably are not good at any one thing. Keep it simple and clean.

    2) Please do not print off your own cards from a home printer and cut them out yourself. If you cannot afford a stack of professionally printed business cards, which usually run $20 – $40 for 250 cards, then it appears that you do not know what you are doing, and makes it harder for potential clients or partners to trust your work.

    3) Use a domain branded email address on your card. If you have a website, which all businesses should, then use your branded domain. It’s more professional and trusting to have instead of

  • By Jim Wolfe 13 Oct 2014

    Regarding best business card practices:
    I agree that it is important to understand cultural norms and practices with business cards, especially when travelling from region to region. I learned the importance of respecting seniority, handing the business card so that is fully readable and carefully reading the business cards that you receive while working with Asian companies.

    Of course, the most important thing to remember when at a conference is to carefully separate where you store your business cards versus those you are receiving. It could be especially embarrassing if you put them all together in a stack in your jacket pocket, and accidentally hand out a competitor’s card to one of your potential clients!

  • By Simone Castello 13 Oct 2014

    I have my photo on my business card – so far nobody I have met had a photo yet they loved the idea of a tiny pic above my name. Am I only the only one who does that? There is nothing more annoying that finding a card and having no clue who the person is.

  • By Apurva Pathak 13 Oct 2014

    If you are a salesperson, most times it’s you initiating the exchange of cards. The best way to do it is offer the card held in two hands & with a polite gesture. When you receive the card, it’s important to study its details. Sometimes, when the customer is far too senior & may not offer his card in return at first – e.g. the leader of the customer team whom you are meeting -, that’s fine too. At the end of the meeting after everything has been discussed and you have left a good impression about your craft, you have a chance to go ask him politely for his card.

    Another situation is group meeting where you are meeting many of the customer team for the first time in a formal set-up. In this case, it is important to place all the collected cards in front of you on the table in the order in which they are seated. This will help you connect a name with a face and give you a good idea of the hierarchy among them.

  • By Vicky Shelton-Smith 14 Oct 2014

    At our company, Proctors, everyone has their photo on business cards, but I agree I haven’t seen it done often. Some say having a photo is vain or not appropriate, but it’s so annoying when you can’t put a name to a face!

  • By Vicky Shelton-Smith 14 Oct 2014

    I suppose you could just add people you meet on LinkedIn with your phone, there and then. Since LinkedIn is a sort-of virtual business card..? Just a thought. But then it wouldn’t work if someone wanted to connect with you, but you didn’t want to connect with them… Awkward!

  • By Guillaume 14 Oct 2014

    Will. I had a look at your article but I think what is missing the most in those guidelines are the cultural aspects. What I could read here is certainly relevant in a lot of cases, but mostly in an anglo-saxon world which is only a small fraction of the real business world. I think most of us doing business abroad are aware of the things to avoid when exchanging business cards for example in the asia pacific region (for those who don’t know, use your two hands, respect the seniority order, younger gives before older, look like you read carefully the card,…). Having to do business worldwide, I can’t help being amused when comparing the protocol in China one week, and being in the US the next week with business cards now showing only the first name of the guy. As a European, protocol is less elaborated than Asia, but you certainly won’t use the first name of someone you meet for the first time.

  • By Ian Anderson 14 Oct 2014

    Great advice Will!
    Now for some biz card dos and don’ts when doing business with Japanese or Korean contacts:
    – do… give and receive cards with both hands,
    – do… read the card carefully and make a comment; “very nice… impressive design”,
    – don’t… put the card directly into your pocket/handbag/briefcase, leave it out during a conversation,
    – don’t… WRITE on the card under any circumstances! This would be akin to someone writing on your office plaque at work.

    Have I missed any?

    What is the etiquette in your country?

  • By Mary Whitaker 14 Oct 2014

    Thank you for reminding me the value of a quick note on back of card I will be using this point in the future. I like your article as most people need to understand the purpose of the business cards. Thank you again and have a great day.

  • By Greg Ramler 14 Oct 2014

    Business cards should be respected. If I’m in a meeting and business cards are exchanged, I always take a good look at it and then place their card right in front of me or somewhere visible on my notebook. I feel it shows interest and respect to the person and that their time is valuable. Plus the card is easily accessible for jotting down any notes on it – if need be (although I usually don’t do this in a meeting, that’s what the notebook is for). I don’t like it when I hand out a card to someone in a meeting and they hardly even look at it – they immediately stick it in their folder or shirt pocket. That comes across to me as being arrogant and disrespectful and that they don’t even care. When it comes to dealing with people in a business / professional manner, your image and how you project yourself means a lot. Even little things can have an impression on people. Treat their card as a meaningful, respectful gesture. Only put their card away when the meeting is over.

  • By Karen Campbell 14 Oct 2014

    I agree on the points raised. I’ll add a must for receiving business cards. To be of value in the future, I note the date, location and purpose that I received the card under including any personal notes to remind me about the person.

  • By Pam Grove 14 Oct 2014

    How about when you’re at a big networking event, you have all kinds of cards from the people you’re meeting and you put them on one side of your card case. Then someone asks for your card and you hand them someone else’s!! I did that once – and have caught myself doing several times afterwards.

  • By Carolyn E. Johnson 14 Oct 2014

    When I take or give a business card I always right a note to remind me of the person, event or who we met as trigger as I go to a lot of mixers, conventions and and meetups in a given week. When I call or email that person I put that little reminder in the email or call also to refresh that persons memory and let them know that I remembered them and it makes the person feel special.

  • By Heath Weber 14 Oct 2014

    Usually handing out the card is a way of getting your targets contact details . Sometimes , while talking to them , I’ll deliberate make a note on the back of their card and say , I’ll need to remember that . I keep my cards in a snap folder , so I i usually take their card and out comes my leather snappy card holder and in goes their card . I’m not sure how much of this is sinking in. I have by the way , handed out someone’s elses card by mistake ….oops

  • By scott clause 14 Oct 2014

    Business cards will remain as a standard tool, and a function of professional business etiquette. personally, i take photo of card, import into contacts. I can find their contact info in the future in about 5 seconds. I would say that a professional email signature is essential. Most business relationships involve an email, which contains all of my contact info.

  • By Gary Livermore 14 Oct 2014

    It kind of annoys me when someone wants to give me a BC , and they say “Wait, I have to change the…” and they cross off the old address or number etc. Just toss those cards and get updated cards. While Im at it, it is hard for me to accept a B2B contact when they are offering the world of their expertise but yet.. they have a gmail address. To be considered viable, a business should have an email that reflects their web page url. Ie: “I can get you on Google front page!” “I’ve worked all over the world and am professional” “” Grrrr.. I just delete those as spam. (Sorry, I got side tracked!) When a billion dollar corporation contacts you with a gmail adreess, well.. it’s probably a scam.

  • By Jon Colson 14 Oct 2014

    I only give out cards when they are asked for with rare exception…such as it is easier than writing my contact information.

    I have received business cards in sympathy cards. Probably the most offensive way I have ever received them.

    As for the etiquette in the post. I agree with all but one. I would not write a note on the back of my card prior to handing it to them. I often write notes on the back of cards that I receive…though that, too is considered bad form in some cultures.

    The reason I would not write the note on mine prior to passing it is because I may not have the same way of recalling that the recipient does. I also follow up most cards I receive with a personal note anyway.

  • By Marcella Cassanelli 14 Oct 2014

    I believe it is presumptuous (at best) to foist your business card on someone who has not asked for it.

  • By Julie Clitheroe 14 Oct 2014

    The biggest mistake I see is people who show up at an event or meeting with a big hand full of cards and walk around saying ‘Here’s my card, do you have a card”. Only to end up on their email distribution list. Yes business cards are cheap advertising. But this approach will get your card thrown in the trash and your email address blocked. I want to have meaningful conversations and interactions with people I want to help in their business or potentially do business with. I only ask and offer my card to people I want to connect with.

  • By Josie James-Hamilton 14 Oct 2014

    I was at a networking event and a man came in with 3 business cards Talk about conflicting. I stuffed them in my purse without looking at them and threw them all away the next morning when I got ready to do my follow-up emails.

  • By Marty Park 14 Oct 2014

    Handing them out and not getting one back is a major faux pas – when you hand someone a card they have all the power – power to follow-up, power to research you, power to decide about a next step. When you collect a business card instead, you have the power – the power to keep them in your network, communication and sales funnel forever!

  • By Evelyn Starr 14 Oct 2014

    At one event that I attended, it was clear that one professional measured the event’s success by the number of cards distributed. There was a minimum of conversation before she handed each member of my group her card and then moved on before any of us could offer her one. We all looked amused and no one worried about keeping her card.

    She was clearly violating the first principle you mention in your article, but beyond that, she left us with a negative impression and hurt her company image instead of generating possible leads. There should be a personal Hippocratic Oath with these marketing tools – first do no harm!

  • By Raza Jaffary 14 Oct 2014

    Handing over your business card is just a formality. Business cards are often kept in albums and are some times lost. If you are well connected with your client then your name, your contact number or email need to be inside their personal contact folder on their cell phone.

  • By John Polly 15 Oct 2014

    I would also say that when handing out a business card to a contact that there be a legitimate reason, and that useful information be attained for follow up purposes. After all, just handing them out doesn’t really get you anything, but when tied to some kind of action like follow up, refferals, can I reference our conversation when I make the call to introduce myself to your colleague? (Decision maker), future business development opportunities, then the act of handing out the business card serves a legitimate purpose with your new contact, and you will be given a path to tangiable discussions with the decision makers who will trust a colleague not to waste their time, but to pass to them people and information that will help their organization succeed. Use the opportunity to pass a business card to a contact with the idea that he/she will fast track my efforts to reach decision makers with the goodwill, trust, and confidence that their colleagues probably have in him/her.

  • By London Lady 15 Oct 2014

    I used to have on my business cards ‘public speaker’ and, without fail, whenever I handed them out, it was a great conversation opener because 100% of recipients had a story to tell about public speaking (eg an anxiety about doing it; or they loved doing it; or they’d attended a conference and heard x talking; etc). I automatically smiled at that person because, what they didn’t know, is that it happened 100% of the time. I changed my business cards recently, and no longer have it in the title, but do drop into the conversation about public speaking training and, again, it’s a great conversation starter. I’ve discovered too that it’s a great way to know that person: People really open up to me; I listen intently and try to understand. It’s lovely.

    And I know too that, whatever people do, be they a lawyer, prison guard, street cleaner, employed or unemployed, everyone has a story to tell. And everyone has the right to be heard. I love doing what I do and see people blossom before my eyes.

    Anyway, back to work!

    Oh a free monthly newsletter’s produced, People Matter, that contains public speaking tips and personal development-related info. Should anyone wish to receive it, email Past editions here:

  • By John Polly 15 Oct 2014

    Another big mistake that I have seen when people hand out business cards is that many times it only the act of exchanging cards as business people, rather than seeing it is an opportunity to gather business intelligence. It is a perfect opportunity to engage the person to get vital information that you can use to your advantage when in front of decision makers. Many times I have been at trade shows and events where salespeople will talk shop with other salespeople from companies that they desire to do business with, or the contact that you make may be completely unrelated to your function, but he/she can provide great information for you about the company they work for, for example, exposing to you opportunities that are underneath the surface that would be useful business intelligence for you to use later when decision makers are identified. They are always impressed when you go the extra mile to really understand the company’s accomplishments, products/services, markets, vision, mission statement, etc. The business card can be “grease for the machinery” if used to your advantage instead of just filing away. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

  • By Patty Mooney 20 Oct 2014

    This is an article I wrote about the Japanese Business Card ceremony… I hope you enjoy it.

  • By John Kornet 20 Oct 2014

    On a long plane ride a few years ago, after attending a big conference, I accidentally gave my seat mate someone else’s business card. Fortunately, a few month’s later, I found his card, called and reconnected. Of course he had trouble remembering who I was!

  • By Jen Leatherman 20 Oct 2014

    As a courtesy to the person I am receiving the card from, I take the time to actually look at the card, and acknowledge them. I have seen others take a card and throw it down on the table or into a notebook without even glancing at it. Maybe it has no effect, but I feel more respectful.

  • By Bill Corbett 20 Oct 2014

    Not knowing what to do with them when you get back to your office. Here’s the answer:

  • By Gail Birks 20 Oct 2014

    The biggest on I have seen is someone walked up to me and just gave me their card and then walked away. And as I watched, I saw that they were giving them out like Halloween candy. Not taking the time to find out who they were giving the card to and if in fact their services were a fit.

  • By Beverly Sartain 20 Oct 2014

    I just ordered my business cards and liked the idea of writing a personal message on the back. I’m starting a recovery life coaching business and your tips were helpful!

  • By Terri 21 Oct 2014

    As most of us use a smartphone, why not have your ‘business card’ on your phone? So you can just ‘bump’ or ‘share’ it, as an easy and sure way to distribute your ‘business card’.

  • By Steve Myers 21 Oct 2014

    One of the problem areas with business cards is the failure to have your business services/.products listed. I am a consultant and my services are listed on the back of my card. I have business cards from others that I no longer know what their services or products are. A business card should not be just functional, it should market your services/products.

  • By John Polly 21 Oct 2014

    Another big mistake that I have seen when people hand out business cards is that many times it only the act of exchanging cards as business people, rather than seeing it is an opportunity to gather business intelligence. It is a perfect opportunity to engage the person to get vital information that you can use to your advantage when in front of decision makers. Many times I have been at trade shows and events where salespeople will talk shop with other salespeople from companies that they desire to do business with, or the contact that you make may be completely unrelated to your function, but he/she can provide great information for you about the company they work for, for example, exposing to you opportunities that are underneath the surface that would be useful business intelligence for you to use later when decision makers are identified. They are always impressed when you go the extra mile to really understand the company’s accomplishments, products/services, markets, vision, mission statement, etc. The business card can be “grease for the machinery” if used to your advantage instead of just filing away. Nothing ventured, nothing gained!

  • By Sylvia Friedman 21 Oct 2014

    Once I see an interested party, someone who may like what I do, I give them a card. When someone asks for a card, that’s easy. I believe the impression you make on someone is just as important as the card.

  • By Kittura Dior 26 Oct 2014

    Regarding an earlier comment about how Asians handle – and EXPECT YOU TO HANDLE business cards, in terms of people doing international business, there is a book series that outlines cultural and international etiquette that you should take a look at, called KISS BOW OR SHAKE HANDS.

    In the USA, Germany, Switzerland, for some examples – we are “low context cultures” meaning that often we just get to the point. This behavior is highly insulting to a lot of other cultural groups. I lived in the Caribbean – one of the high context regions – and most often people from the US will walk into a room, a store or any place where people are and say nothing, when it is customary to say “Good Afternoon” to the room. Also, to walk up to a store sales person and say, “How much is that?” or “Where is the bathroom?” when no initial greeting was made is also part of the issue of our low context culture and is highly offensive to those from “high context” cultures.

    The Chinese do hand you a business card with both hands and expect you to receive it with both hands and reverently place it in a secure setting… not just slide it in a back pocket.

    These types of behaviors can give you a boost when attempting to do business in a global world.

  • By Heath Weber 28 Oct 2014

    There is a continuos discussion about a BDMs role in various groups. I don’t want to beat that subject to death, much as I’d like to . But one of the mistakes I’ve made is after been told that I was nothing more then a glorified salesmen, was to ask for my card back and give the customer one of my old sales executive cards from a previous company . The misunderstanding of the title on the card has led to many unproductive internal and external customer debates, explanations and finally arguments. Surprisingly I have found this to be an internal problem that is larger then I expcted, with other team members referring to us as sales reps, the other day I gave my card to a manger and said, ” here, my CV “

  • By Guillermo Carretero 30 Oct 2014

    My daughter is one of the best engineer and marketeer of the main opera house in Uruguay. His name is well know here in Argentina , Spain Japan and other places . BUT when she must do a trip of work especially in Latin America she must crosses swords in every place the first hours, for determinate quick and easy who,s the boss. There is a predisposition for all men in every place specially the “Latin America macho” that a Women has not enough capacity to be the main officer .This war finish quick for her character and her splendid knowledge of the human psychology. But I can say without no doubts that be a women and specially if she is the head , she wont be well receive and must make her own position quick and hard in order to be respect. Tout ce change me tout ce la meme choose. I call her Jean D,arc. It’s nor easy for women, even now in the 21st century .

  • By Kittura Dior 01 Nov 2014

    I once was an account exec for a company representing international manufacturers from all sorts of cultures. It is important to note that too much “high context” when dealing with “low context” cultures can also be problematic in that other low context people may believe you are unnecessarily personal and possibly long winded. It’s a tightrope! Included here are a couple of links to give you a quick overview of the differences.


    But also the books I mentioned earlier (The KISS BOW OR SHAKE HANDS series) have specific information for various countries that is very helpful.

    I find the whole thing fascinating!

  • By Bruce Weiser 05 Nov 2014

    The worst thing we see is the “Free” or $ 10.00 business cards They offer little to be desired and do not differentiate your message.

    We manufacture our cards from a frosted clear recycled polypropylene and silk screen them on two sides in Black, PMS blue and a tinted clear.

    Everyone that receives our card says “WOW NICE CARD” and this includes many graphic designers and creative professionals. Business cards are part of the presentation “Pie” all slices need to match and convey your message IE Business cards, brochures, e-blasts, Presentation binders, folders, boxes. branded items like pens, flash drives and tote bags to name just a few areas. There are many more and everything needs to be great and memorable

    Send your address and we will mail you one so you can see if you agree.

  • By Gary Livermore 26 Nov 2014

    To Jen Leatherman, I have seen that as well. I would think though, that the card given was not solicitated by the person and just given out to anyone and everyone. Unless I am interested and ask for a card, which I do, I take it and toss it later on. If I do not think I will ever need a “Professional Animal aditude adjuster” I don’t really need to have that card on my board. I don’t really give out a card unless the person displays an interest in mining or prospecting. Not that I hope they will buy from me, but just as a connection.

  • By David Gordon 09 Dec 2014

    I sell advertising to the automotive business and do not use cards. If you’ve ever worked in, or been around managers in a dealership they are constantly losing “pens” so I use pens instead of cards with my message on them, knowing that they will be used a lot my name will be there everytime it’s picked up.

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