Eight mistakes people make with business cards

1. Hand them out to everyone

When you handover your business card, you are giving permission to be contacted by the other person. (You are not giving permission to go onto their mailing list!) Some people literally go business card hunting and gathering. There is no benefit to coming back from an event with over 100 business cards if you haven’t taken the time to build a relationship with the other person. All this does is help increase a printer’s business…

2. Miss off contact details

The number of communication mediums available to people today is immense. Make sure you include all the ways that you are happy to be contacted or connected with. For example, email, phone, Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype…

3. Forget to take them with you

You never know when it may be handy to have a supply of business cards with you. Social events are a great opportunity for some networking. Always keep a supply of business cards in your wallet, suit pocket and car.

4. Don’t put them into your contact management system

Business cards are there to help you contact the person after the event. Unless the person who gave you the business card has specifically given you permission, their contact details should not go on your mailing list. (A pet hate of mine!)

5. Ignorance with international business card etiquette

In the US and Europe it is fine – almost expected – that you will write over someone’s business card when you have received it. In Asia, this would be seen to be very rude…

6. Forget to use the back of the business card

Your business card has two sides, and the back can be used for marketing messages.

7. Use a dark glossy laminate finish so people can’t write on the business card

Whilst I love the look of highly glossy laminated business cards, they are not practical for the people you hand them too at face-to-face networking events. The reason? They can’t be easily written on. Many people, when they receive your business card, will want to write on it.

8. Messy, cluttered, cheap business cards

Your business card is often the first thing that someone sees when they are thinking about contacting you. If yours is messy, cluttered, cheap or has spelling mistakes on, this is probably not the impression you want to give!

Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, is the founder of The Efficiency Coach, a company that helps professionals achieve better business results for less effort. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks.

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