Passing out your business cards as if they’re flyers will ensure that they will be thrown away as if they’re flyers. Only pass out cards to those with whom you have had a meaningful conversation, and wait until the end of the exchange.
Even though professional etiquette dictates that it’s inappropriate to request a card from someone in a much higher status or position than your own, we say you often have to step out of the comfort zone. If the mood is right feel free to ask, and couch it by saying that you’ll treat the information respectfully. Be clear that you will not share their contact information, nor will you bombard them with calls and emails. If you aren’t able to get a card, remember their name and company until you have a chance to write it down. The following day, call the company directory for the person’s title, direct line, or email address.
For those who are not of a higher rank or status, be brave enough to offer your card first. You brought these cards for a reason, so use them. Have a pen and paper ready so you can jot down your new contact’s information if they don’t have cards with them.
- Buy a nice card case, which keeps your cards clean, easy to access, and free of crumples and folds.
- Don’t use cards from your previous positions, and don’t cross through old information with a pen.
- When someone hands you a card, take a moment to read it. It’s rude to put it away without looking at it. Write down any special instructions on the back and store it somewhere safe.
- Do not store others’ cards in the same cardholder as your own. You risk giving out valuable contact’s cards to others by mistake. Not only do you lose an important card, you look unprofessional and disorganized. Another drawback is you may think you have more of your own cards than you really do. The cardholder may seem full, but in reality it may only be full of everyone else’s cards.
- Refill your case before all events to ensure you never run out.
- Take any card offered to you. It never pays to be rude when networking.