March 07, 2007 EditionAlso in this issue...
The business of business cardsLinda Lou Moore
A business card should answer the question: "Who are you?"
- A business card usually gives the following information: your name, the name of your company, your title or position and your address, phone number(s), e-mail and fax.
- A business card is easy to handle. The traditional size of 3 1/2 X 2 inches fits easily in billfolds and card cases. It can be easily attached to documents, files, photographs and other types of correspondence.
- A business card is a reflection of you. It should be printed on quality paper and easy to read. Overly elaborate cards can be distracting and difficult to read. Oddly shaped and sized cards can be difficult to carry, file or give.
Even though the traditional size business card is small, there are some big Do's and Don'ts when using them.
- DO keep your cards current.
- DON'T give your card if it has any out-of-date information.
- DO make certain your card is clean.
- DON'T give clients dirty or scuffed cards.
- DO give your card with the front side up so that the other person can read it without having to turn it over or having to turn it around.
- DON'T accept someone else's business card without reading it.
- DO wait until a senior executive gives you his or her card before you offer your card.
- DO ask people for their business card if you would like their business information. They will often ask for your business card in exchange.
- DON'T give your business card unless asked. Many people like to ask for a business card; they don't want to be forced to take a business card they haven't requested.
- DON'T let others wonder about your name. If your name can be interpreted as either male or female then use your full name on your business card. For example, if your name is Sam Anderson then use Samuel Anderson or Samantha Anderson. Usually, honorifics such as Mr. or Ms. are not used on business cards unless the name may be interpreted as male or female. Using your full name, however, usually makes using Mr. or Ms. unnecessary.
- DO remember there is a time and place for everything. This includes business cards.
- DON'T give your business card, unless asked, at a social function such as a party, benefit or reception. Don't give your card at other ceremonial occasions such as christenings, bar mitzvahs, weddings or funerals. If you are asked for a business card in one of these circumstances, be discrete when exchanging cards.
When traveling abroad it is wise to have your business card printed with the English version on one side and the language of the country with which you are conducting business on the other. This not only makes your business card easier to read, but also helps to eliminate errors when sending and receiving information.
(Linda Lou Moore is trained and certified by The Protocol School of Washington, Washington, D.C. She offers customized individual and group etiquette programs for children, teens and adults. She may be reached at P.O. Box 145, Paragould, Arkansas 72451 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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