The Etiquette of Plastic Business Cards

Is there a right or a wrong way to present your plastic business cards? We explore some of the rules of etiquette.

The Japanese and Chinese take a ritual approach to the exchange of business cards. They are presented face up whilst bowing and with both hands placed on either side of the card like the presentation of a gift or tray. The card recipient accepts the card with both hands and a bow, studies the card and then places it in a business card holder. This small ceremony is intended to display respect.

Perhaps we don’t go to such extreme lengths in the West but there is still a right and wrong way in which to hand out plastic business cards and following the rules will improve the impression you make.

If you are a supplier, simply handing out a card without someone making a request for your details seems presumptuous and can be negatively perceived. On the other hand if you are a potential client, it’s fine to give out your plastic business cards because your contact details are important to a potential supplier.

When you are handing over your plastic cards, use your right hand or both hands, especially if you regularly travel abroad for business. In some countries, handing over a card with your left hand can be an insult.

If you’re receiving a card, accept it with the same hand with which it was given. It is also polite to take a few moments to study the card and to comment, maybe to clarify the information on it before putting it away.

When you hand out plastic business cards at a networking event, study what the recipients do with your card compared to the pile they already hold in their hand. If they don’t look at your card and put it at the bottom of the pile, they’re clearly not interested in the service you provide. If they add your card to the top of the stack after taking a moment to read it, this could suggest that there may be further potential.

Your business card is a mini-billboard on which to advertise who you are, what you do, where and how to contact you. Technology has yet to find a replacement for the business card and it remains the best way of giving someone your contact details. Why not explore our site to find out more about making the best possible impression with plastic loyalty cards and business cards.