Business cards are an important marketing tool for any business owner. They are used in business meetings as an introduction and left with potential customers as a means of getting a foot in the door. People give them out when someone needs their contact information and business cards should be used often and as necessary to promote and carry on business.
But what does business card etiquette mean? Many times, a business card serves as the first impression that a potential client has of you and your business. It is therefore extremely important that the business card is accurate and that it is clean. It should be easy to read with nothing crossed off or handwritten on its surface. It reflects your personality and should exude the quality of the services or products you provide.
A business card should be treated with the respect that you would treat the person handing it to you. Don't discard it abruptly and put it down without looking at it. Read it when it is handed to you. Look at it and leave it out so that you can refer to information on it if needed during your meeting. Most times business cards are exchanged when people first meet, but sometimes circumstances don't permit that so wait until it is appropriate to do so.
Business card etiquette also says that you should never include business cards with a thank you note or a congratulatory letter or other personal note. It should not be given out at a funeral or other serious events where people's thoughts are on entirely different subjects. If someone asks you for your card then it is permissible - but otherwise keep them in your pocket.
Always be prepared with enough business cards - including extras - when attending any type of business meeting, conference or seminar. Chances are there are going to be additional people there that you had not anticipated. If you do, however, run out of cards, make sure that you get the contact information for the people who did not receive one and have a card sent to them afterwards.
It's important to resist the temptation to just hand out your business cards en masse at certain events. Remember, proper timing is critical along with handing them out at appropriate meetings and venues. Your company's reputation and your own reputation may suffer if you attempt to "do business" at the improper time and place.
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