A handsome business card, properly presented, always makes a good impression. A business card is an extension and expression of you. It should be given in such a way as to make the recipient remember and want to contact you. You should know when to present a card, when to take the initiative, and how to exchange cards with someone. Here are some tips on business card etiquette:
• Avoid using an honorific on your card (Dr./Mr./Miss/Mrs.) though you may use a professional title, such as M.D. or Ph.D.
• Avoid giving out defective or out-of-date cards.
• Carry your cards in a card case so they remain fresh and protected.
• Carry business (or calling) cards to evening social events in case a good business or social opportunity presents itself.
• When offering someone printed matter, such as a business plan or manuscript, along with your card, personalize the card by writing something on the back and then attach the card to the top sheet. You may want to cross out your name and write in your first name by hand to make the card more personal.
• Never force your card on anybody. This is perhaps the biggest mistake people make. Wait until someone asks for your card.
• It's a good practice to send notes to your new contacts within 48 hours of receiving new cards. A few lines saying it was good to meet them will suffice, and will guarantee a lasting impression.
Lisa Mirza Grotts is a recognized etiquette expert, on-air contributor and the author of A Traveler's Passport to Etiquette. She is a former director of protocol for the city and county of San Francisco and the founder and CEO of The AML Group (www.AMLGroup.com), certified etiquette and protocol consultants. Her clients range from Stanford Hospital to Cornell University and Levi Strauss. She has been quoted by Condé Nast Traveler, InStyle magazine, and the Los Angeles Times. To learn more about Lisa, follow her on www.Twitter.com/LisaGrotts and www.Facebook.com/LisaGrotts.
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