The Etiquette of Giving and Receiving Business Cards

March 25, 2011
Business card etiquette

When you give someone your business card, you’re introducing yourself on paper. A business card is a representation of who you are so be sure that the card is in pristine condition before you hand it over. You wouldn’t wear a wrinkled suit to an interview, would you?

Presenting your business card

Always present your business card in your right hand, or in both hands. Never (and I do mean NEVER) pass out your business cards as though you were dealing a poker hand. If you travel for business, you’ll save yourself embarrassment by following this rule. In some countries, presenting your business card in your left hand is a serious insult.Look the individual in the eye and smile when presenting the card. Not only is it good etiquette, it shows them you’re engaged with them.

Receiving a business card

When being given a business card, accept the card in the same way it was presented—either in your right hand or both hands. Take a few moments to study the business card, commenting on it and clarifying information before putting it away.

Don’t ever slide a business card into your back pocket and sit on it. Always keep your business cards in a separate case. When you are back in your office, add the information from the card into your database as soon as possible. You never want to be in a position where you have to ask that person for another card. That’s a big etiquette faux pas.

Business cards are an internationally recognized means of presenting personal contact information—so be sure you have a good supply on hand.

If you travel abroad for business, do a little research on business etiquette for your destination before you go. The etiquette “rules” in the UK, for example, are far more relaxed than in Japan. Understanding business etiquette allows you to feel comfortable and will help build trust when building business relationships.

Do you have etiquette questions? Follow me on Twitter, LIKE me on Facebook, or connect with me on LinkedIn.

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Posted by Margaret in Business Etiquette and tagged , , , , .


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5 Responses to The Etiquette of Giving and Receiving Business Cards

  1. Wedding Etiquette: December 5, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Is it polite to offer one of my cards after being offered one from another party? When would it be wrong to offer a business card?

  2. Margaret: December 6, 2011 at 4:45 am

    Thank you for visiting the blog and taking time to comment! With regard to your question, if you have built a business connection or there is an opportunity to serve someone in some capacity then share your business card. However, if you have the other parties business card you are in the driver’s seat. You can do the follow through and contact them.

    I do not recommend simply giving a card to every breathing body you pass by. If you have invested time and energy in creating and designing your business cards then you have a significant outlay. Don’t waste cards unnecessarily. People do business with people they know like or trust. You have to make sure they know you well enough to want to type your contact information or scan your contact information into their contact manager. Otherwise they will simply dispose of the card the next opportunity they are near the recycling bin.

    I hope this helps!

  3. Julia: May 11, 2012 at 5:45 am

    I find these tips very helpful to me. I am always feel a little bit self-conscious about giving my business cards.

  4. usman: June 26, 2012 at 2:43 am

    I have seen people become emotional while offering their business cards,I think the point in their mind is that they have spent a lot of money on PlasticCardPrinting and other stuff so their aggression is true:-)

  5. grafhicworld: March 17, 2017 at 6:51 am

    nice article its really helpful.

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