- A Lasting Impression
By Jul Hirst
Like your American Express card, you should never leave home without your
business cards. Business opportunities can pop up at any time -- it could
be at the grocery store, in line at the movies or at Starbucks. When a
business opportunity presents itself, you need to take advantage by having
a business card available. The business card is a lasting impression that
is left behind after you are gone. You need to make it work for you.
The appearance of your business card says as much about you as your
physical appearance. As the tangible evidence of your meeting, it should
reflect your style, grace and class. You should never pass out a business
card that looks "used" - torn, folded, frayed corners. A business card
case should be mandatory. It doesn't have to be a fancy sterling version
from Tiffany's. You need something to keep your cards clean and prevent
folding and fraying.
Another no-no is to distribute outdated cards. If your cards contain
outdated information, do not pass them out. Crossing out information and
writing the correction is sloppy. Business cards are cheap. When your
information changes, buy new cards. If your company is too cheap to buy
them, purchase them yourself. Remember the cards are not only a
representation of the company but also of you -- make yourself stand out.
Follow the one card per person rule of thumb when passing out your cards.
It is acceptable to give more if asked, however, you look like you want
that person to help you market yourself if you hand over more than one.
While networking, you would not want people to blow you off. It is the
same with business cards. Do not hastily put a received card in your
pocket or stuff it in your wallet. This is a sign of disrespect. Take a
moment to review the card and use the information provided as another
source of conversation. It will show the other person that you care. After
the conversation it is acceptable to put the card in your pocket, but you
should refrain from writing notes on it until later.
It is acceptable to request a business card, unless that person is in a
higher position than you. In this situation, you must wait for the other
person to offer you a card. If they want you to have one, they will offer
For international business people, it is a good idea to have your
information translated into the native language on the other side of your
card. Do not assume that everyone speaks English and having the additional
version shows you are thoughtful and prepared.
It's hard to believe that in today's technologically advanced world that a
3" x 2.5" piece of card stock can have such a big influence on your
business. Yes, your business card says a great deal about you and is a
lasting impression a person has of their meeting with you. Make it count.
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