The Problem: Business Card Etiquette
If I hand you my business card and it is brushed away without nary a look, this is what it means to me:
a. You don’t have any interest in who I am.
b. You could care less about what I do.
c. You are not even considering the possibility that one day we might work or partner together.
I know what you are thinking, that I must be either a pushy salesman myself or someone that mingles with people in unrelated industries (i.e. insurance salesman at a tech conference). That is not the case; I am in fact an advertising agency founder as well as an owner of a coworking space who frequents marketing gatherings and conferences nationwide. But even if I was a business developer, it’s still wrong, and just plain bad manners to disregard someone’s business card in this way.
So how is one supposed to take a business card? To put it bluntly; take it like you mean it. Don’t accept it looking away dejectedly as if it’s a vegetable pâté when you were hoping for cake.
How are you to know when you will need the services of an email marketer, or even a window installer? Challenge yourself to think deeper; what about the person behind that business card? If you disregard him how will you ever know if he/she is the one that may have a personal connection to the potential client you have been trying to meet?
That said, here is how to take my business card:
a. Take the card in your hand; do not just put it in your pocket.
b. Look at the card and read to yourself at least my full name, company, and job title.
c. Thoughtfully place my card in your pocket or bag after thanking me for the card or continuing the conversation based on what you just learned about me.
Some dejectors may say, this is America not Asia, we don’t have time to be ‘extra polite‘, to read someone’s boring business card, and heaven forbid ask a question about their profession.
Sure we do.