The business card of today
- Invites a new business acquaintance to get in touch with you
- Defines your position and responsibilities (e.g., Vice-President, Sales)
- Provides a number of ways to reach you: mailing address, telephone, fax, e-mail address, and sometimes your assistant's telephone number and alternate phone numbers for you
The smart businessperson should never be without at least a few cards in a jacket pocket- and the newer-looking they are, the better. You never know when you might need a card (at a dinner in a restaurant, say, or sitting next to someone in a baseball stadium's bleachers), and they should be in perfect condition when you present them. Stationery and department stores sell business card holders that prevent smudging and creasing.
How to hand out business cards, and to whom?
- If you're reasonably sure you'll be dealing with someone in the future, ask for a business card and give yours in return. Probably the one exception is when you encounter a top executive who clearly outranks you; if such a senior person wants your card, or wants you to have hers, she will tell you so.
- When given a card, don't just snatch it and jam it into your pocket. Take a moment to look at it, perhaps complimenting its design. Then slip it into your wallet or date book.
- Offer cards one to a person- rather than presenting a fistful, as if you were trying to flood the market with the wonder of you and your title.
- Offering your card privately to someone at a social event is perfectly fine- but suggest holding off on detailed business talk until another day. Don't pop out your card in the middle of a dinner that has nothing to do with business; if you want to present one, wait until you've left the table.