Business Card Etiquette

As promised in my last post on my New Year’s resolutions, here’s a quick post. This time about Business Cards. I was inspired by both reading Chris Brogan’s Trust Agents on the subway trip home from #OpenCoffeeBos as well as by my own experiences networking in the Boston community.

Business Card Etiquette

1) Start at the End

There’s nothing more annoying than when people lead with their business card.  As Chris Brogan mentions in his book…you need to build a connection before your card has value.  Giving out a business card should be a reaction to the conversation you have with another person. It should be a means (way to contact you) to an end (follow up email/meeting/deal).  Men, you wouldn’t ask a girl for her phone number the moment you met her, would you? And ladies, you’d never give that guy your number, would you?

2) Leave some White Space

We all want to make a good impression and have the right information on our cards, but let’s not complicate things.  Leave some white space,  so I can take notes on the card.  I don’t have a great memory and often meet many people at an event. It’s really helpful to write a few words on the back of your card so I know why I want to follow up with you or simply where we met when I add you to my stack of cards from previous events. This also means making sure your card is a light background at least on the back…if it’s glossy or a dark color, my efforts to write notes are futile.

3) Keep it Simple

The value you create should not be in how cool or catchy your business card is.  If you network properly, people are going to go out of their way to pull out your card and add you to their contacts and/or follow up with you.  Focus on building those relationships and you’re more likely to get noticed.  When I go through my pile of business cards, it’s because I’m looking for someone in particular, not to randomly choose a card from the stack.

These are a few things that stood out to me recently. What are your tips for business card etiquette?