One of the very basic conditions of being a successful businessman is to get people (your existing or prospective customers) to like you and a very basic requirement for being liked by people is to have proper business etiquette. We all like to be in companionship of well-cultured people and etiquette is one of the most important components of culture.
Understanding business etiquettes help you to deal confidently with your customers and business acquaintance and build up a good rapport in no time. The scope of business etiquette is vast and beyond the scope of this article, however, we can definitely discuss one very common but extremely important etiquette issue that businessmen often comes across; exchanging business cards.
In most part of the world, business cards are used to provide or get contact information and other necessary personal details of your business acquaintance, however a lot depends on how the business card is handed over or the way the receiver treats the business card that he receives. There are certain countries that have a set norm about receiving and giving business cards however, the general etiquettes of business card exchange that is followed all over the world can be summarized in the following points.
a) Always get your business cards printed in very high quality paper and get the designs done by professionals. A business card is not just a piece of paper carrying your contact information but it’s a branding tool for your company.
b) Business cards an internationally accepted means of providing the necessary personal details to your business acquaintance. When you are going for a business meeting or a social gathering make sure you have good number of business cards with you.
c) Try to exchange your business cards either at the beginning or at the end of the meeting.
d) Whenever you receive a business card, make it a habit to study the business card and comment on it. If you have any doubts always clarify the doubt before putting it away. This shows that you are paying proper importance to the person who hands over the card to you.
e) If you are traveling to some foreign country where English is not the primary business language, it is advisable that you get the backside of your business card printed in the local language. It is also expected, that while handing over the business card to some one you keep the side with the foreign language version on top.
f) Do not try to thrust your business card at anyone with whom you are hardly acquainted. Business cards are exchanged only after both the parties express their interest to be in contact with each other.
g) It is good to add a tag line or mention the USP of your business on your business card, but make sure that in the process, you do not turn it to a mini billboard.
Other than this general etiquettes of business card exchange, there are certain etiquettes that are specific to certain countries. Two of the most remarkable instances are found in China and Japan.
In China, it is the general etiquette to hold the business card in both hands while offering it to somebody and you should never write on someone’s card unless you are told to do so. It is customary in China, to mention your title in the business card and it is preferred if you have one side of the business card printed in Chinese with golden fonts as gold is considered to be an auspicious color.
In Japan, the accepted rules of business card exchange are somewhat opposite to China. Here business cards are always received in two hands but can be offered in one hand. Business cards are treated with the same respect as that of the actual person. Business cards should mention the title of the person as much emphasis is given to status and hierarchy in Japan.
Business cards are one of the most powerful marketing tools for your company. If you know how to use the cards to their best advantage you can be sure that they will give you multiples of what you have invested to get those business cards done.