Monday, October 01, 2007

Business Card Etiquette

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have a networking presentation entitled Six Steps to Purposeful Networking that I really like because I can change it to fit a specific situation even as I am speaking.

Several months ago when I arrived at a club to deliver this talk, a member of the audience walked up to me before I had even caught my breath and handled his business card to me, without asking for mine.

So that day, the part of the presentation where I talk about not shoving your own business card at people without asking for theirs first, was eliminated because I wanted to allow that eager beaver to save face. I am really conflicted about doing this, because it is an important message that many people need to hear -- especially the eager beavers of the world.

I know that I am invited to speak as the expert, but if I definitely make someone feel uncomfortable about how they acted with me, they will probably not hear much beyond that specific point of my delivery. And that is the good reaction. The less than wonderful reaction could be that they get defensive and combative for the remaining of the presentation.

Big dilemma. No answer.

Got any?


natalie ferguson said...

I hate people who thrust business cards at me. I have hundreds of the things from people who i will never see or speak to again. I'd rather have a few from people who actually meant something or had some connection. As it stands, I don't even look at my business card collection.

Greg Peters said...

As a Martial Arts teacher, especially when I am trying to correct a specific behavior, I often claim to have problem with whatever it is myself. Something to the effect of "One thing that will help you to look even better to other networkers (and this is one I have struggled with myself) is to actually wait until they ask for my business card. I forget that what I may see as being helpful, might actually reflect poorly on me." This seems to take a lot of the sting out of the correction. It becomes less about telling them that they are wrong and more about a shared experience that we both have.

Just a thought anyway.

Michelle Donovan said...

Here's an idea ...

I do a similar presentation. To start the presentation off, I ask the audience to complete a short networking self-assessment ... 10 questions or so. In the assessment is a statement about business card etiquette that you mention in your blog. In debriefing the assessment, you can choose to discuss that item or the others ... emphasizing that all of these behaviors can leave positive and sometimes negative impressions. It's a flexible tool that makes your point ... sometimes without you having to say anything at all. Plus it's always better to get the audience to make your point for you.

Hope this helps.