Cygi Grammer

  Protocol & Etiquette Consultant

  Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia  Canada  B0J 2E0

   PH:  902.624.6199   FX:  902.624.6100   E-mail:

Cygi Grammer Protocol & Etiquette Consultant



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Presentation of Business Cards


From the Winter/Spring 2004 issue of Progressive Choices,

Presenting Business Cards

Do you know the proper way to present your business card? Unfortunately, many professionals do not. Perhaps it is unclear what the business card actually represents. Simply stated, it is an extension of your image, and the image that your company wants to project. It is important to know that how you want clients to view your business will be reflected in the quality of the way you advertise. And the way professionals advertise is via their business card. A business card printed on quality paper with quality printing denotes quality service. The quality denotes success. There is nothing worse than handing out a business card that is cheaply made, defective or containing invalid information. Professionals that hand out such cards and make excuses for the effort look unprofessional, and this could mean lost business. Remember, your business card stays with the client. The business card reminds the client of who you are and what you represent. Your business card is your reminder, your advertisement of you.

Tips for presenting business cards in North America (rules are different internationally):

You do not have to exchange business cards with everyone you meet. Take the time to talk to individuals for a few minutes before asking to exchange business cards. This shows that you are interested in them and their business, establishing your professionalism.

Offer only one card to an individual unless the individual asks you for more. Do not ask potential clients to take extra cards to hand them to anyone they know on your behalf.

During a social event, be very discrete if you ask or are asked for a business card. Exchanges should take place in private. In depth business conversation should be saved for another time.

Never hand out a defective, soiled, or out-of-date card. Keep business cards in a card case. Silver card cases must constantly be maintained due to tarnishing, which causes cards to become soiled. Leather card cases are easier to maintain.

When presenting your card, take the time to turn the information towards the individual. In some countries, both hands are used in the presentation of the business card.

Exchange only business cards. A blank check book deposit slip is unacceptable.

Exchange only your personal business card. Consider the image that is portrayed if you were to mark through someone else’s card to offer your information.

Finally, if you happen to be in a job transition but still want to offer a business card, I suggest using a quality "Social Business Card." Social business cards are the preferred card to use for discrete exchanges during social events. This card only contains your name and a telephone number, maintaining a polished professional appearance. But remember, this card in no way replaces the business card for long-term use.

Presenting a business card is only half of the protocol. The second half is learning the proper way to receive a business card. Both are important aspects of one’s image, and knowing the protocol advertises a polished professional.

Cygi Grammer, Etiquette Consultant

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