From the Winter/Spring 2004 issue of
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
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
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
Never hand out a defective, soiled, or out-of-date card.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
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