The importance of business cards is waning. In some countries, business cards are still held in high regards, especially in Japan, China and India. In the UK and US or across North America and Europe, business cards have become less important. However, they have not become totally irrelevant. Business cards do have a function, especially at events.
The moot point here is if you should exchange business cards at events. And if so, then how should you go about it. Let us look at the best practice or the standard etiquette that people find acceptable.
Business cards should be exchanged at events but in a particular way. You cannot go around randomly handing out your business cards to everyone you meet. You cannot exchange business cards for the sake of it even if you don’t manage to have a word with someone. Business cards are exchanged only when there is some potential of an association. When you meet someone, have a few words and find the company or the individual to be of relevance to your business and if you are of relevance to their business, then you should exchange business cards. There are times when you are introduced to someone and you know at the very start that the person represents a company or some association that is relevant to your industry or to your interests. In such cases, you should exchange business cards right at the start. It doesn’t look nice if you share your business cards in the interim. Do not intervene or stop the conversation midway to exchange business cards at events.
When you do exchange business cards, you should do it in a certain manner. Professionalism is certainly a prerequisite but how you go about sharing the cards is also important. First, your business cards should be clean, spotless and well kept. Don’t fidget to pull out a card that is crooked, dirty or bent. Don’t share such cards. When you extend the card, do so courteously and not casually or just doing it for the sake of it. When you accept someone’s card, look at it, read the details, clarify or confirm something if you have to and then put the card in your pocket, card holder or wallet and do so gently. Don’t just take a card and put it in your pocket without seeing it. Also, try to comment on the card if you can. That would leave an impression.