what's in your opinion the more professional thing to do when someone gives you his business card (besides giving him your one)?
Do you suggest to read it and comment, to read and just put in your pocket ... ??
P.S. OK, the very first thing to do is to say 'thank you' making some eye contact ... isn't it? :D

bflynn's picture

The reponse is cultural - it depends on the person giving it to you. You probably know the guidelines for your culture, which gets you through the immediate day.

I googled "business card etiquette" and found this site, which seems pretty good. Basic summary is that the card is less important in the west, except as a reminder of the person and an address card. In east aisian cultures, the business card is treated almost as an extension of the person, so there are expectations of how it will be delivered and treated.


johnodavidson's picture

I like asking people the best way to contact them. If I don't I end up leaving a message at a number they don't check. A few time they even gave me an e-mail not on the card. Just a thought.

smorison's picture

i do a lot of work in Australia and Asia and its quite interesting the different ways to receive and give cards. it ranges from a very informal "flick" of the card across the desk from some australians to a formal two handed delivery with a bow for some of our Asian customers. or somewhere in between depending on the persons upbringing.

What works for me (due to large western influences in Asia) is to wait for the person to hand me their card and return with the same jestures.

Why? a lot of westerners in Asia have adopted the customs so you never know quite what to expect.

I haven't worked in Europe so i don't know what the customs are like, however emulating the person you are meeting always seems to work for me.

hope this was useful

Mark's picture
Admin Role Badge

Here's what works EVERYWHERE:

Receive the card with respect by taking it with both hands (fingers only, bottom corners, no cradling), and take a few moments and read it. After doing so, look at the giver and say, "Thank you. It's a privilege to meet you."

Depending upon the circumstances, either continue holding the card, or put it someplace appropriate, respectfully. Usually, your wallet is fine unless you have one of those ungodly fat wallets that you mistakenly put in your rear trousers pocket. In that cast, slip it into your shirt pocket. Lacking any appropriate place, simply hold onto it.

This works even if they mistakenly flick it at you. Don't step down to them, and then in the process increase the chances that you will be off your game when meeting someone from a more formal business card culture (likely from Asia).


pmrego's picture

How should I act when someone hands me a business card that I have not asked for?

When you meet a person I've always been tought not to hand a card unless the other person asks for it (in group meetings I believe think it applies).
Sometimes people hand me the card as they present themselves. Should I accept and do the same? I usually assume that when people do that they expect the same in return, and not doing so might be interpreted as rudeness or lack of preparation (aka card) and I sure don't want to make a bad impression on someone I just met.

PS: This doubt applies to Europe and I guess US as in Asian card exchange is almost mandatory.

Pedro Rego

HMac's picture

Pedro - I think the answer is to a) follow Mark's advice above, and then b) give them your card.


asteriskrntt1's picture

I wouldn't make an issue of whether you asked for the card or not.

Follow what Hmac and Mark said. If you are really uncomfortable giving your biz card over, you can always ask if they would also like your contact information.