The Art of Business Card Interaction: When, Who and How


“It’s useful to remember that our identities stretch beyond what is on the business card.” Alain de Botton.

Business Cards: A Time and Place

Much has been written about business cards. Discussion around how the design of a business card can bring in extra sales, competitions to hand out the most business cards at events, how it defines some people in certain cultures and the art of giving and receiving these small, cardboard calling cards so many people turn to at networking events.

I bet many of you have turned up for a new job and the day your shiny new printed business cards turned up on your desk, smelling all pretty and new with your fab title printed on them, you got a little thrill.

Business cards have their place. I’m not arguing that they should never be used. What I am saying is that they are over-rated and over-used.

I read a networking tip recently that suggested you give someone you just met two business cards. One for the person you met and one for their friend.

Can anyone else see what’s wrong with this? Is this not a little arrogant? You are making the assumption that your products and services (and YOU) are so good, the person you have just met doesn’t even need to experience those products or services before handing your business card to a friend or work colleague of their own. Hmmmmm.

I have seen the way people thrust business cards into other people’s hands before they have even spoken a word to them. In fact, I was asked recently to host a speed networking activity where participants would hand over their business cards. I declined with an option to do something more meaningful and useful for the attendees.

And here’s a statistic that supports my take on business cards even more. 90% of business card recipients chuck them out within a week of receiving them! (source:

The art of business card giving and receiving is all down to more connection and less assumption.

Here are my tips on how to dance the business card tango to perfection.

1. Connect with a person before you hand over a business card. There may be no relevance or synergies between your businesses. So why hand a card over to someone who is probably going to put it in their wallet and chuck it out 6 months later?

2. Don’t hand over your business card at introductions.
This is an arrogant move and comes across as overly assumptive.

3. Ask if you can give someone your card.
After a chat, you may realise there are possibilities around extending this new contact beyond the networking event. Ask permission to hand over your card with a comment about how you could work together in the future. It’s a polite and humble way to behave.

4. Go back to your networking plan
Putting together a strategic networking plan that gets you meeting the right people at the right times means you won’t be handing out your card to non-qualified leads or contacts.

5. Follow up and file
If you have collected some business cards from an event you attended, don’t let them fester in your bag or jacket pocket never to be found again. The next day, pull them out, make a note about each connection, schedule a catch up call or meeting with them and then file the business cards away where you can easily access them again.

Business cards most certainly have their place. Like every other part of your networking plan, there should be strategy behind when and how you use them.

Connection first. Business card later.

If you would like to discover more perhaps you might be interested in one of our Lunch & Learn Sessions or contact us to chat

Happy Netships for now

ps - our next course intake is September (with limited places) - hope to see you there:) 

Create & Manage Networks Training Course 
Next intake is September 16th 2015
 (4 half day sessions in a program, held in the Sydney CBD, that runs over 2 months)
Details and Enrolments HERE


Posted on March 26, 2015 .