Most people keep their business cards in a wallet or handbag, which means when its time to hand their card to a potential client, they have to rummage around, through loose change, petrol receipts, other business cards, photos of their kids, credit cards and so on.
So much for making a great first impression!
How about this scenario...
When asked for his business card, John reaches into his trouser pocket, effortlessly pulls out a business card holder, removes a card and presents it to George. Poetry in motion! George's eyes linger on the business card holder and he is impressed with John's style.
Here's another example
David, an executive with a multinational company is sitting at his desk. An old colleague drops in for a visit and asks David for his business card. David pulls out his card from a drawer, holding it between his index and third fingers (like a cigarette) and casually tosses it to his friend across the table. Is that appropriate?
Keep it professional
Your business card is an important part of your professional identity. It holds your name, designation, the organisation you represent, your office/ residential telephone numbers, mobile number, fax number, email ID, website address, etc. It might also carries your credentials and educational qualifications. When you are presenting it to somebody, do so with respect. Your body language should also convey the same.
Always hold the card face-up, so that the print faces the individual you are presenting it to. This is a courtesy, so that he/ she doesn't have to turn it around to read it. Hold it firmly in one corner, using your your thumb and index finger to grip it as you extend it to the receiver.
If you are dealing with clients from Asian countries like Japan or China, it is important to hold the business card with both hands and offer it accompanied by a small bowing gesture. Europeans and Americans do not pay as much attention to business cards as the Asians do.
Always present your business card with your right hand, as in some cultures it is considered impolite to do so with your left.
Storing your business cards
There are a variety of business card holders available - metal looks classy, leather is stylish. Pick a holder than is slim, but capable of holding 10 - 15 cards and keep it replenished. A card holder stops business cards from getting creased or dirty and dog-eared.
Writing on a business card
Always make sure that the information on your card is current. Never cross out old phone numbers, email addresses, etc - it looks tacky and unprofessional. You are better off investing in a new set of cards that show the correct information.
It's also rude to write on or deface someone else's business card in their presence. Wait until you are out of their sight and then jot down any information on the card that will help you to remember them.
Other things to remember
Keep your business card to yourself until someone asks for it.
Only ask for cards or contact information for people you intend to follow up with.
Make the most of your networking by regularly connecting with your contacts.
Business cards can be one of the most effective ways to gain new business.
Think of them as little portable billboards with your name and company details on them.
They help you make more sales, create more customers and increase awareness of your business.