John is at a networking event. He joins a group of people, pulls out a fistful of business cards and hands them out everyone. Then he turns to a new contact, pulls a dog-eared card out of his pants pocket and says, “Here’s my card. Can I have your card?” The contact looks taken aback, but gives John her business card. John takes it and stuffs it into his back pocket. He then turns to another contact and asks for her business card. When she hands it to him, John takes out a pen and writes on the front of the card: “Friend of Jane Smith.”
How many business faux pas did you spot? Here they are.
1. Don’t hand out your business card to everyone you know. See if people need or want your cards. Handing out your cards like chewing gum makes you appear to be a cheap sales person – not the persona you want.
2. Make sure your business cards are clean and in good condition. A business card that is dirty or curled at the edges leaves a poor impression. Use a business card case to keep your cards clean and fresh.
3. When you receive a card, don’t jam it into your pocket. Take a moment to look at it. Make a positive comment about some aspect of the card – the logo, location, or company name. This shows respect for the other person, and demonstrates your interest in them. It also helps you remember their name and job title.
4. After you’ve looked at the card, place it carefully in a card case or in a front pocket – not a back pocket. Treat the card with respect.
5. Be careful about writing on people’s cards. Some people spend time and money designing a professional card, and may not appreciate your writing on it. And in many cultures a business card is an important part of their persona, and should be treated with respect.
Business cards are part of your image. Make sure yours are well designed and up to date. They are your silent calling cards.
Lynda Goldman, author of “How to Make a Million Dollar First Impression,” is a seminar leader on business image and etiquette, and is the author of 30 books. For more success tips, or to order the book, please visit www.impressforsuccess.comor call (514) 336-4339. Receive a free report, “10 Tips for Using Color to Attract Business” when you sign up for our free e-mail newsletter “Lynda Goldman’s Business Image Tips.”