Lessons In Networking: Business Card Etiquette

Collecting Business Cards IS NOT a Extreme Sporting!

Although you have 30 seconds to create a great first impression, stay calm, confident and authentic. Take your time. Would you meet someone new and tell them your address or ask them for theirs? Probably not. But why not? Because you don’t know them and why should you tell them where you live? And you don’t them so why do you need to know where they live, right?

Well is the case with business cards too. How many times have your been to a networking event and witnessed someone going from person to person passing out their business cards like they were $100 bills and everybody wants one! How annoying it that. It is my rule not to offer someone my card until I have some real indication that I want and have a need to connect with them at a later time. Further, I don’t readily appreciate anyone giving my an unsolicited card. I leaves me the impression that they are really interested in building connections, but rather want to name drop and have bragging rights on the number of card they received. Personally I am not interested in being contacted by such a professional…this may be an indication of their general business practices.

Here are 3 best practices for business card etiquette:

  1. Keep your business card to yourself until someone asks for it.
  2. Only ask for cards or contact information from people you intend to and has a purpose to connect with.
  3. Maximize all of your networking efforts by regularly connecting with your contacts to build a rapport and relationship.

Do you have any other best practices to lend to this list? How do you determine who’s card you want? How do you ask for a business card?

#1 coach for dreamers and entreprenerus in charlotte, NC

Business Card Etiquette

Don’t leave home without your cards. However, don’t hand out your business card to everyone you know, as if you are spreading the wonder of who you are. First, see if people need or want your card. Handing out your cards like chewing gum makes you seem like a pushy salesperson – not the image you want to project.

Make sure your business cards are clean and in good condition. They are a part of your business image. A business card that is dirty or curled at the edges leaves a poor first impression. Use a business card case to keep your cards clean and fresh.

When your cards are damaged or out of date, print new ones. If you start crossing out information on a card and write new information on top of it, it makes it difficult to read and looks messy. Business cards are part of your image. Make sure yours are well designed and up to date.

When you receive a card, take a moment to look at it. Make a positive comment about some aspect of the card: the logo, the company name, or business location. This shows respect for the other person, and demonstrates your interest in them. As well, this is an excellent way for you to find out more about them, such as their job title. It also helps you remember their name, or reminds you of their name in case you forgot – a very common occurrence.

If someone hands you a card that you don’t want, don’t refuse to take it. Accept it, look at it, and put it in a pocket. Throw it out later.

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. This includes being careful about writing on people’s cards. Although this may seem contrary to current thoughts on networking, in many cultures (specifically Asia), a business card is part of the overall persona, and should be treated with respect. People spend time and money designing a professional card and may not appreciate you writing across it. If you need to record information, write on the back, not the front. Ask first, “Do you mind if I write on your card?”

Your business card is a major part of your business and personal brand. Consider it an investment similar to your power suit and choice of smart phone. Don’t belabor getting business cards done; just make sure they represent the quality professional image of your products and services.

Work-thru Journal



These are some basic tips for business card etiquette, do you have any to add?



In awareness, passion, joy & productive networking,


About The Author


Andrea Callahan is a brand designer. She helps passion & purpose-driven entrepreneurs maximize their strengths to craft and implement an image that represents their WHY and to use that why to position themselves as an Industry Influencer. She a speaker, seminar leader and the author of, "It's Your Brand ~ Make Your Identity Clear" available on Amazon.com Callahan launched the Industry Influencer Academy at academy.andreacallahan.com

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