The Business Card

So you think you know everything there is to know about how to use business cards? Think again! As with most other cultural rituals, what is the norm differs widely around the world.

Here in Germany it is traditional to present your business card before a meeting begins. This ensures that other participants know how your name is spelt and helps them to remember it.

On no account should a business card be damaged in any way. The recipient will take a quick look at the card before putting it away and perhaps later entering the details into his or her digital address book.

Business Cards in Other Countries

What is considered “correct” in Germany can be an embarrassing mistake elsewhere. Exchanging business cards in China and Japan, for example, is almost a ceremonial act. Always use both hands when presenting your business card to the other person. The printed side should face upwards so that it can be read immediately. Be sure to use high-quality business cards and, when receiving cards, place them on the table in front of you. Don’t put them away until the meeting has ended. On NO ACCOUNT should you make notes on business cards. This is viewed as highly disrespectful.