In a recent blog, I wrote about business cards and how they impact your brand. Today, I would like to talk about the etiquette of business cards, and how this can positively impact your effectiveness in networking and ultimately your career management or career search. I was lucky enough to begin my career in Japan, and this has significantly impacted my perspective on this. In Japan, the business card is an extension of the person. Exchanging business cards is a ritual in Japan. The way you give and receive a card demonstrates your respect of the other person. The information on the card lets each party know the hierarchy, and how they should behave towards the other party. What I learned is the importance of acknowledging information on the card, and using that to demonstrate my interest in the other person. Now, whenever I exchange cards, I always look at the name and title of the person giving me their card. Unfortunately, I do not have the best memory, so I say the name and title for the person out loud, and this helps me to remember the person. It also lets the other person know that I am paying attention to them. How many times have you been at a networking event, where the noise level is so high, it was difficult to hear what the other person does? How many times have you met a person, and by the time you finish talking with them, you have forgotten the name and title of the person you are talking to? By looking at and repeating out loud the information on the card, you are providing an additional method of inputting the information into your head, and remembering the person. How many times have you given a card to someone and they immediately put the card in their pocket without even looking at it? How much were they listening to you? By implementing this into your networking practice, you will not only demonstrate greater respect to the individual you are meeting, but when you look at the card to follow-up with the individual, you will have much greater recollection of the person you met and the conversation that took place, allowing for a much more effective follow-up.

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Comments
  1. Thanks for posting this Greg. You mentioned this in your advanced career strategies class and I’ve always remembered it. Great thoughts and advice.

  2. Olga Kiena says:

    Greg,

    This is great. Americans are always quick to dismiss a new aquaintance and move on to the “next”. We should learn to nurture our relationships and grow them. Thank you for your insight!

  3. Chris says:

    Very True. I have found this to be the case as well. Good Post.

  4. Wayne says:

    Greg makes a great point about this. You must also be very careful and not “deface” the card by writing something on it – and use care in putting the card away. It is best to place the card into your business card case, in the second divider section reserved for “received cards.” Any notes can be written on the card later.

    Question – Are there different customs / etiquette rules for other countries/cultures?

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