Business cards are a great tool to help you make a positive first impression. The Japanese have an elegant way of presenting business cards. They hold out the card in front of them with both hands, and hand over the card with a slight bow. It's a sign of respect, and almost becomes a little ceremony. When they receive your card, they look at it carefully and admire it. You are expected to do the same when you receive their card.
How can you use this etiquette to make a great impression in business today? You don't have to be Japanese, and the extra moments you take in handing out your business cards won't cost you a penny.
1. Compliment the card. When you receive a business card, don't stuff it into your pocket. Instead, take a moment and look at it carefully. Admire it. Find something to say, and make a positive comment. It can be about their product or service, their logo, or the location of their office. It doesn't matter what you say, as long as it's positive. In reality, you are complimenting the person who gave you the card.
2. Treat it with respect. Don't fold the card in half. Don't pick your teeth with it. Never put it into your back pocket and sit on it. Don't write anything on it without first asking permission. Instead, carefully place it in a business card holder or pocket of your jacket.
3. Don't hand out your card while you are shaking hands. When you meet someone and shake hands, give that person your full attention. Make eye contact long enough to notice the color or his or her eyes. Shake hands warmly and firmly. Smile. Say their name, and how nice it is to meet them. Then when you exchange business cards afterwards, make that a small ceremony, as with the Japanese. It will give you a way to connect again.
Business card etiquette says a great deal about your professionalism in general. It only take a few seconds, and doesn't cost a penny to show etiquette when you hand out a business card. Why not take that extra step to create a great first impression?
You are invited to use these tips to make a great first impression when networking.