Business cards....such an important part of who you are as an entrepreneur, speaker or business individual. This tiny little cardboard rectangle can be so useful after you have made an acquaintance offering a myriad of information for the connection afterward. And with so many other subjects encompassing ETIQUETTE, indeed, there is a formal protocol for giving and receiving business cards... Do you comply?
First and foremost, always check your business cards before you go to an event. Make sure they are not folded over, bent or have coffee stains on them. Place them in a shirt pocket or card holder so they are readily available for exchange in the blink of an eye.
Never offer (or in some cases shove) your card in someones face immediately upon meeting them. By this I mean - "Hi, my name is Jane, here's my card"(whip out card and present to new acquaintance) This is rude and certainly unexpected and most likely end up with your card being tossed in the nearest trash bin.
In fact, protocol indicates that you should wait to be asked for your card and then reciprocate. Now your thinking, how do I get the other person to ask for my card? Simply stated, ask for theirs. In 9 times out of 10, if you ask for a card from someone, they usually reciprocate and ask for yours. If they did not, take a hint, they didn't want it anyway!!
Once the exchange has been made, study the card for a few moments. Mention something about the card in your hand, like the design or color or perhaps even inquire about the address. Something in the realm of small talk that makes the other person reply. This shows an genuine interest in the person. Your job is to listen.
Lastly, follow up with your new found connection. The next day or so, drop an email, call or write a note to express how nice it was to meet, say hello or just stay connected. This can go a long way to making a new connection, a lasting connection.
Happy Business Card Exchanging