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Business card etiquette

Earlier this month I wrote about one aspect of business card etiquette (i.e. not just giving cards out to people at random), but there are other aspects to this etiquette.

I came across a blog post that discusses how different cultures have different expectations about how business cards should be given/received. It is interesting to note these differences and I think it is respectful to use these different ideas when dealing with international people.

However, I think many of those differences can be used routinely in Australia, too.

For instance, in Japan it is considered rude to give a card with one hand – they pass it over with both hands and presented in a way that the other person can read the card as it is given; the other person then carefully takes the card, reads it and gently places it in a pocket. Ok, giving a card in two hands and bowing may raise some eyebrows between two Aussies, but but why not show respect and read someone’s card as they hand it to you? Why not make sure your card is the right way up when you pass it to someone? And I think etiquette in any language is to place the card carefully somewhere once you have it – don’t shove it in somewhere or screw it up/fold it/whatever.

I also thought it interesting to note that a multi-lingual card (or different cards in various languages) is almost a must in some cultures. Personally, I only deal with English speaking cultures (because there’s no way I could write professionally in another language!) so an English card is sufficient, but I see the value in using another language on the reverse of my card if I was to frequently deal with people in that culture. It shows respect but also makes it easier for them to understand who I am and how I can help them.

Do you have separate cards or techniques for dealing with international business dealings?

Happy writing!

Just giving out cards does not work

I have just been reading part of the Small Business Diva blog where she wrote about networking, and her 6th point reminded me of a networking breakfast I attended a month or so ago.

Donna-Marie wrote ” When at networking events, don’t try to talk to everyone there and shove as many business cards as possible into everyone’s hands nor push your products/services on people. ” And I couldn’t agree more. Networking is about building relationships, not getting your name in front of the maximum number of people.

At the breakfast I attended, I happened to sit next to a man who didn’t tell me his name or show much interest in talking to me (his choice, and it doesn’t bother me!) However, as he stood up to leave he handed a business card to everyone within reach, said good-bye and left. He still didn’t say his name or use mine (I had introduced myself).

The end result? I left his card on the table and he gained nothing from handing it to me.

Compare that to others I have met at networking events where we have swapped cards and later exchanged emails and possibly helped each other in some way, even if we never used each others’ services.

So don’t go to networking events with the aim to hand out heaps of cards; reserve your cards for the people you click with or who specifically ask for a card or information about your services.

Walking out of a networking event with two or three, or even one, good contact is a great feeling – and a successful event.