Business Card Etiquette

Order business cards for the job you want

Don’t obsess over hand-chiseled dies and medium gothic—unless you can afford it (lucky you)—but do think of your cards as a reflection of your style and professionalism. That means both clarity (name, company, contact info clearly displayed) and quality (the best materials and design you afford).   Presentation helps too, so we’ll cover that next

And protect them with your life

Always be prepared with a few cards, because 1) you never know who could be behind you in line for the bathroom and 2) networking happens everywhere these days.  Beyond that, clean, unbent cards suggest that you’re equally careful in your professional life, so you don’t want to just chuck them in the bottom of your bag.

Don’t make it weird

Recap: You’re only as good as your card and how you handle it, so don’t mess this up, okay? Handing them out to every Tom, Dick, and Harry and Niall and Louis is a no. Handing them out indiscreetly is a no. Handing them out during a social situation is a hell nah (wait until after). Essentially, you want to make the giver feel important and nobody to feel bad about not being included in your Business Dealings.

When you reach a point near the natural conclusion of an interaction with a new acquaintance, be cool and say “Let me give you my card.”* Or, at the beginning of a more formal meeting, offer your card as you introduce yourself, then place everyone else’s in front of you for name remembrance purposes. In any situation, treat the card like you’ve just received a sterling silver Hermès melon baller:  Hold it with both hands (#respect), read it (or just pretend), and if it’s sincere, compliment your new contact on their choice of vellum.

Business  Card Etiquette

“Let’s get a drink!”

After you have handed out your business card and received theirs, you need to act on the transaction.   Start by sending an email a week or so after the initial meeting.  This email should include three elements: that you enjoyed meeting them; a memorable thing that came up during your discussion, and that you’d like to continue the conversation over lunch or coffee or Skype.  Then share your availability and book it in.  You’ll be glad you did!

Inspired by Marie Claire mag