Even in the year 2023, sharing a business card is one of the most common ways to network around the world. If you are working abroad, then you will need to know the right etiquette for exchanging your information with potential business partners and clients.
If done so the right way, you will leave a good impression on every person you come across. To help you out, we have put together this guide.
Here is business card etiquette around the world:
Table of Contents
In the USA
Let’s start off with our neighbours across the pond. The etiquette in the US is more relaxed than the other places we’re going to cover on this list.
First things first, you must always make sure that the business cards you’re giving out look neat and crisp. Using a business card holder will protect your cards until you are handing them out.
Wait for the appropriate time to give out your cards. You should get to know the person you are speaking to first and wait until the conversation becomes business-oriented to hand your cards out. However, if you are attending a formal business meeting, start exchanging the cards before the meeting starts to get familiar with everyone’s name.
Although some cultures find writing on the business card rude, this isn’t an issue in the United States. Some potential clients will even feel appreciated if you write your phone number or email address before giving it back.
Referred to as “Meishi” in Japan, a business card plays an important role in the professional ritual of Japanese businesses. Japanese business card etiquette becomes a sort of ritual and is based on a hierarchy.
When you are in a group, the people with the highest rank will be the first to exchange their cards, working their way down to the people with the lowest position. Make sure that you stock up because you will need to exchange cards with everyone in the meeting.
It’s handy to have a sturdy pocket case so that you can quickly pull out your business card to hand out. Doing so will leave a great first impression. Having a custom business card that’s bilingual is also sure to impress.
When offering or receiving the business card, make sure that you do it with both hands. This shows that you have the utmost respect for the person you are doing business with. Unlike in the United States, writing on the other person’s card is seen as very rude, so make sure you treat the card you accept with care.
Similar to Japan, China has its own unique set of rules and etiquette for business card exchange. You are expected to have double-sided business cards, one side contains your details in English while the other contains simplified Chinese. If you are visiting Taiwan or Hong Kong, you will need to have traditional Chinese instead of the simplified one. When you are handing out your business card, make sure that it is Chinese side up.
In China, business cards are always given and received using both hands and it is expected to stand during the exchange. If you are in a meeting with multiple people, you should give out your cards to everyone present. Going to a business meeting without a business card ready can greatly damage the image and reputation of your company.
Once you have received the card, place it carefully down on the table or put it away in your holder. Just like Japanese etiquette, do not write anything on the card or damage it in any way.
Using a premium business card can do wonders for your business meetings. Once they receive your card, clients will be impressed by the quality.
The business card etiquette in India is a bit more casual than other Asian countries. However, there are still rules and traditions that you need to be mindful of when conducting your business there.
In India, your card can be handed out both in business and casual meetings. It is usually handed out after a handshake and greeting. Once again, stock up on your business cards. Having more is better than not having enough.
While shaking hands, it is important to note that in some parts of India, it is rare for men to shake hands with women. Men must let the woman initiate the gesture if they wish to shake hands with you.
Another important thing to take note of is the hierarchical structure of Indian society. You must greet people in the order of their seniority. When greeting someone, make sure that you address them using their title and surname unless you are allowed to refer to them by their first name.
Use your right hand when receiving the business card, as the left hand is considered unclean.
That’s the end of our guide! With these tips, you can go to each business meeting without having to worry about unintentionally offending your business partners.
If you are just making your business card, then we recommend one made from our Royal Extra White 400gsm material. It just screams quality.
If you want to see more business card designs, visit StickerMarket!