Etiquette for Exchanging Business Cards

Networking events provide many occasions for exchanging your business card with new business contacts. While a well-designed and professionally printed business card makes a good impression, the way you present your card and receive other’s cards also says a lot about you. Be sure to follow the proper etiquette for exchanging business cards so that you make the most positive and lasting impact possible.

1. Preparations
Never leave your office without a case filled with ten or twenty of your own business cards. Do not stuff them in your pocket, purse, or brief case, since loose business cards can get damaged. Buy a nice and simple case to hold your business cards and the cards you receive from others.

2. Right Protocol
In many cases, you can ask for a card from someone you just met. Usually they will offer you theirs as well. If they do not offer theirs, you should not always ask. If they outrank your business status, wait for them to offer their business card to you. If their level of title is the same or lower than yours, use your own discretion in the situation. The only exception for this protocol is whenever you are at a networking function; it is expected that you will exchange cards with everyone you meet.

3. Only One Card
It is important to keep the exchange personal by only giving and receiving one business card. If you give one person multiple cards, you are presuming that they will pass it on. For your first meeting, it is best to stick with the one-on-one interaction.

4. Respect
When you hand your card to someone or when someone gives you their card, handle the cards with care. Hold the edges of the card with the front facing up. When you are given a card look it over and read it. Take some time and make a remark about the design or logo. After you read the card, carefully place it in your card case. Thank the other person for their card.

When exchanging business cards, details are important. Not only are you making a professional impression when you use good etiquette, you also prevent offending a new contact. In some countries, business cards are thought to be an extension of the giver. If you treat all business card exchanges as such, you will be sure to make every first meeting positive.



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