Business Card Etiquette
By Sherri Ferris, President and CEO
Protocol Professionals, Inc.
  • Never run out of business cards or BE WITHOUT a business card unless you are in the shower!
  • They are a personal reflection of you. Make sure they are never wrinkled, scribbled upon, with lines crossed out, or splattered from baby formula or your last meal.

  • Use sufficiently large print so that the information can be read easily. Your name should be the largest print on the card.

  • If one person asks for a business card, the other should offer his/hers in return.

  • Choose high quality paper and ink with thermography or engraving so that the printing is raised.

  • Never pass out business cards like you are "dealing cards". Keep them in a business card case and present them so that the recipient can read them right side up. It is polite to comment on the card before putting it away rather than immediately stashing it in a pocket without looking at it.

  • In Asian cultures, use two hands to give and receive cards, and place your counterpart's card on the tabletop during a business meeting. In cultures such as Japan, the exchange of business cards is a very formal and respectful process, taking a great deal of time.

  • If traveling abroad, have your cards printed on one side in the language of the country you are visiting.

  • Writing notes about the person who gave you a card is very helpful e.g. the date you met them, the occasion, and any follow-up. But don't do this in the presence of that individual, especially when you are with individuals from other countries.

  • When networking, keep your business card case handy in an easily accessible pocket. It's too difficult to rummage for cards at a stand-up reception while you are balancing a plate and beverage glass!

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