Proper Business Card Etiquette in Six Easy Steps


business card exchange etiquette

Business cards require a ritual.

Present your business card with both hands, holding at the top corners so that the recipient can read it. Receive other people’s cards with both hands as well. It’s best to spend some time reading the card, and if seated at a desk or table, you should keep the card on the table.

Using Business Cards

Proper Business Card Etiquette #1

At work, at meetings, traveling for work, always carry business cards with you.

Do not place them in your wallet. Have them in a business card holder.

This is because when you are trading business cards, it is unsightly to be pulling out your wallet / purse (especially if it is a thick one), digging for business card. It is simply not professional to do so.

Also, after at a business meeting, where there are exchanges of business cards, empty your collected cards from holder and file them.

Use a organized business card filing system to store your cards. Categorize them in files or use a business card roller or scanner.

It is important that you treat business cards with respect because you might need to use them in the future. Your boss or colleagues may ask you for them as well.

Receiving Business Cards

Proper Business Card Etiquette #2

Give with both hands and receive with both hands.

When you receive it, pause a moment and look at it before you put it away.

Do not put the card in your wallet. It should go properly in your business card holder or business organizer.

Do not write anything on the business card.

As you receive it and put it away, put it away gently. Have respect for other people’s business card.

Do not chuck them on the table, or into a visible pile on your desk, or your back pocket or your handbag.

Asking For Business Cards

Proper Business Card Etiquette #3

Ask for business cards only if it is related to business. This is only the right business etiquette.

“Do you mind if I have your business card?”

“Do you have a business card?”

“Shall we exchange business cards and get together to discuss this further sometime?”

Please do not ask for business cards in front of a group of people. Ask privately and one-on-one.

If you simply want to get in contact with the other person for other reasons besides business, please simply ask for their personal phone number. You may avoid unprofessionalism if they call or email you at work.

Giving Business Cards

Proper Business Card Etiquette #4

Business cards should only be given at a business meeting or to a potential business contact.

As mentioned earlier, give with both hands and properly, paying attention to the person you are giving it to.

Do not hand it with one hand, or from your side profile, as though the person is not quite important enough to give the card properly.

Do not hand out business cards at a social function.

Do not be seen exchanging business cards at a social function.

If you really have to, do so privately.

Proper Business Card Etiquette In Other Countries and Culture

Proper Business Card Etiquette #5

In more formal cultures, business cards are not only handed with both hands, they are handed with a slight nod or bow. If you are in that situation, try to do the same. When in rome, do as the romans do.

They also stand and read your business card for about a minute before placing them in their file or business card holder. Do the same.

It is not expected for you to give compliments to the card, or say, “Nice looking business card!”.

The same goes, do not write anything on the card, or chuck in anywhere, like in your back pocket, for instance.

What A Business Card Should Look Like

Proper Business Card Etiquette #6

A proper business card should be clear, professional and easy to read.

It should not be cluttered and should have the standard fonts used in all business communication.

It should say your name, your title, your company and a brief tagline of what your company does. It should tell of your post, or at least the service that you could be contacted for.

An office phone number and email address are basics. You may also include your company website address, and a mobile phone or fax number.

Your business card should reflect your company as well.

Thank you for reading ‘Proper Business Card Etiquette’!

You might also like