Friday, May 15, 2009

Business Card Etiquette 101 or Oh. My. God. Are You Really that RUDE?

"We're Ruder Than Ever, Poll Finds... 'It's about the daily assault of selfish, inconsiderate behavior that gets under people's skin on the highways, in the office, on TV, in stores and the myriad other settings where they encounter fellow Americans.'" (April 3, 2002, Deborah Wadsworth, Pres. Public Agenda Research Group, reported on

In the study mentioned above, nearly eight in 10 respondents said lack of respect and courtesy is a serious national problem; 61% agreed that there was more rude behavior than in the past; people blamed parents for not instilling courtesy in their children, and popular culture for encouraging rude behavior (April 3, 2002, Public Agenda Research Group, reported on

No matter who does the study, the results seem to be the same. Here, 79% feel people are ruder to each other now than just 10 years ago; 42% say they encounter rude behavior every day (Apr. 2002 Good Housekeeping)

Entrepreneur Chick is very active in her local Chamber of Commerce.
I attend many mixers and functions in which business cards are exchanged.

It is so dismissive, and certainly adds to the national problem of rudeness and ill behavior when this scenario takes place-

When exchanging business cards, the person you've offered your card to simply shoves it in whatever available pocket, purse or card holder without so much as even a glance and keeps on talking- blah, blah, blah- about themselves.

What effect do you think that has on building relationships?
What effect do you think that has on rapport?

If a person is going to mistreat your card so badly in front of you, how do you think they will treat it when they come home and dump their collected stash on their nightstand?

Entrepreneurs and business people everywhere- should you like to grow your business and be perceived as someone who is not contributing to the overall rudeness in America, here is a much better way to respond.

A card is placed into your hands.
Stop talking.
Read the card.
Ask questions- "Oh, I see you own a professional assembly company. Interesting. How long have you been in that business?"
"Who's your best client?"

Now the other person sees you are taking a real interest. Now the other person sees you're not "playing at networking" but you have a true desire to understand them and their business needs!

By understanding what the other person does lets them know that you will be posed and ready when you see a good business match for them in the future. When one of your associates complains, "Arrrrrr! I hate trying to put this stupid (fill in the blank) thing together!"
Now you can be such a hero and say, "Well, I'm sorry to hear that but I have just the guy you need to solve your problem!"

Just so you'll know, when I give you my card and you don't even glance at it, now you created a deficit with me and you're going to have to do a lot to win back my respect. I'm not the only one.

Business is about relationships.
Go big or go home?
Be courteous or go home.

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