When do you give your business card? Part 1

by Matt Bird on November 27, 2013 · 0 comments

Matt BirdThe room was slowly filling with business executives, some were clearly long standing acquaintances and others were meeting one another for the first time. As people met the first thing they did was to present business cards to each other with both hands as if they were priceless pieces of art. It felt rather strange but within the predominant culture of those gathered this is when and how they give business cards.


  • When you start the conversation

If someone passes you a business card as you start a conversation it can feel a little premature and pushy. Where this approach does feel appropriate is in a business meeting where you do not know everyone.

  • When you finish the conversation

It feels more socially comfortable to exchange business cards at the end of a conversation by which time you have ascertained whether or not there is a meaningful connection. The risk with this approach is that your conversation could be interrupted mid-way through and the opportunity to exchange contact details is lost.

  • When you are asked

I think that the most authentic point at which to give a business card is when you are asked ‘What do you do?’ Reaching for your pocket and passing a business card as you explain what you do feels natural. It is a good habit that can be cultivated. At the same time you can ask them if they have a business card.

Giving a business card when you are asked ‘What do you do?’ clearly relies on being asked the question! One of the most reliable ways of triggering the question is to genuinely ask it of the person you are with, knowing that it is human to reciprocate and so they are likely (but not certain) to ask you in return.

ACTION: Reflect on your current approach to exchanging business cards and consider how it could evolve in order to become more natural and effective.

This is the first in a three part series ‘Making the Most of Business Cards’. To find out more visit www.relationology.co.uk.

Matt Bird
Matt Bird, The Relationologist
Described as Malcolm Galdwell’s connector, Matt helps people and organisations build the relationships they need to achieve greater success. He is the Creator of Relationology about the art and science of relationships and how they drive business success. He is a keynote speaker, leadership consultant and prolific blogger. To find out more visit www.relationology.co.uk.

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