Don’t hand me your business card first!

by Phil Berg on January 20, 2012 · 6 comments

At a recent networking meeting, a gentleman walked up to me and introduced himself.  Initially, I really appreciated the fact that someone was showing interest in me and it was impressive.

After introducing himself to me, he then proceeded to tell me what he did and gave me the name of the company he represented.  Then he kindly handed me his business card, turned around and began the same process with his next victim. 

I am a great believer that what others think of us is far more relevant to our success than what we think of ourselves!   This doesn’t take away from the fact that it’s hugely important we think well of ourselves.

The point I am making here is that whatever we do (and I do mean… whatever), how it has been perceived will have a far bigger effect than how you think you did.  Think about the times, when you read an email completely differently to how the sender intended you too, or when somebody heard you say something differently to what you thought you had said!

So let’s just focus on that business card of yours, shall we?

The scenario above shows that despite first impressions, the gentleman concerned was only interested in himself and showed no interest in me at all.  Ultimately, if you would like people to have your business cards, then ask for theirs first.  If they are polite, they will ask for your card in return and your goal will have been achieved.  If they don’t ask you for yours at the end of your initial conversation, you could try saying: ”Would a business card of mine be of interest to you?”

It is very unlikely that they would say no and whether they keep it or not, the way you asked will not only keep you in their mind, but will stand you out from the crowd, (positively, I might add).

To end, why not try this when you receive a business card in the manner of the gentleman I met recently: simply say… ”thank you so much… what would you like me to do with this now?”  Watch their face and enjoy!

What do you say when you receive a business card?

Phil Berg
Phil Berg – International, Motivational Speaker. Helping companies and individuals around the world, present and network more effectively, resulting in increased profitability. Phil is practical and speaks the same language as his audience. He will inspire you to be even more successful with his “easy to do” actions and thoughts.

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Jon January 21, 2012 at 07:33

Great story Phil and one I’ve seen many times. Also a great reminder to make sure we don’t do the same and a lovely tip – ask for theirs first :)


Linda Parkinson-Hardman January 23, 2012 at 09:41

I remember being at an event and the speaker had just finished what their presentation, I was patiently waiting my turn to have a chat and tell him how much I’d enjoyed his thoughts when a woman pushed past, posted a business card in his top jacket pocket, patted it and said ‘I think I can help you with your presentation skills’ and walked off. To say we were all bemused and a little shocked would be putting it mildly ….! Needless to say he removed the card and let it on the table behind him.


Stephanie Mojica February 12, 2012 at 18:35

Phil, this advice is so true. The key is to ask about the other person’s business and focus on their needs before your own. Ultimately, the other person will ask about what you do and remember you in a positive way.


ilana eberson February 15, 2012 at 00:14

Phil, You’re so on point in this article. Networking this way is such a lose/lose interaction. If you’re not trying for the relationship first, then you’ve missed the whole point of networking.

I’ve seen this happens hundreds of times at events. I’ve even seen people start to network and hand out their cards while they still have their coats on! At a seated event a couple of weeks ago, one person walked the entire room (150 people) and gave a card to everyone – didn’t talk to anyone – but just handed out a card. Networking is not a numbers game or a one-way communication.


Andi Deeks September 13, 2012 at 09:05

While i total agree, with all the comments i would have to say, its rare for me to hand out business cards at the first or second interaction, unless asked.
I go back to a core value i teach clients “people buy from PEOPLE they trust” for the first instance its about commumicating and putting in a hook, thus the person if they are interested, they will find and contact you.
In most cases find out about them first, for a example at a recent meeting i was standing waiting to talk to someone whuile he finished his conversation, i overheard he played golf, thus when we spoke i commented on the golf, thus the other person turned around and joined back in, i commented it would be good to learn more about golf and maybe a game, thus created an interest away from business, we have since met, played golf, have introductions to his network and will be playing again soon, all of this builds a trust and thus when we talk business we are all on the same wave length.
In business as in life we are born with TWO ears and ONE mouth for a reason.


Eduardo Pérez April 2, 2013 at 12:39

Great article Phil, I used to Keep waiting till somebody así for my card…
Thank you!


Leave a Comment


Previous post:

Next post: