We have discussed business cards previously on the blog, asking whether the traditional card is on its way out in this digital age. While there certainly are many digital counterparts to the classic card, the truth is that physical business cards are still a very prominent part of contemporary business exchanges. In this blog post, we will address the art of the business card: from the card itself to the protocol of exchanging them.
The Look and Feel of a Business Card
The appearance of your business card matters greatly. Just like your own professional image, it can make or break a great first impression.
- If your business card reflects your role within your company, the design of your card is more or less out of your hands. It should reflect the brand guidelines of your organization. Make sure that you know who organizes business card production in your company, so that you can let them know when you are running low on your supply.
- If you have a personally branded card – whether you are a consultant, business owner, or prospective professional – ensure that the design looks professional.
- The text should be in a legible font and size, properly justified to the card dimensions. Treat your own brand like that of a company: have clearly outlined brand guidelines that define the colour, font, sizing, and possible logo for all of your materials, including your cards, letterhead, and PowerPoint template.
- If you do not have the skills or supplies at home to produce your own cards, have your business cards professionally printed and cut. Your card may look amateur if you do not have the know-how to create a crisp, clean cut. Choose a paper with a heavier weight, so that the card is sturdy and does not appear flimsy when held against other cards.
- Match the design of your business card to the personality of your industry. Are you a graphic designer? Ensure that your card reflects your creativity and design expertise. Are you a Certified General Accountant? Then perhaps you may choose a simpler colour scheme or design concept.
The Art of the Exchange
Exchanging business cards is still an important step in forming a business relationship, and it is essential that you demonstrate Executive Presence when exchanging cards with someone.
- In our new Introduction to Executive Presence Video Series, we outline several do’s and don’ts of how to exchange business cards properly.
You can also watch the video here. Some of the finer points include:
- Carry your business cards in a nice cardholder. This will prevent the cards from becoming dog-eared in your pocket or wallet. Also, when someone gives you his or her card, put it into your cardholder as well. They will notice you treating their card with respect and retaining it for future reference.
- When someone gives you a card, be sure to take a brief moment to look at it before putting it away. Make this step easier for the other person by presenting your card face-up.
- As you present your card, don’t rush. Carefully take the card out of the holder and present it with measured movements.