By Elizabeth Hanink
Using business cards successfully is an art that anyone can master. And since so much of the work world today depends on connections, it is an art well worth polishing. Cards are one of the least expensive advertising tools you can find.
▶ Start by always having your cards with you. Being caught without it is like being caught without your homework. Have those little ads on you at all times.
▶ Be sure they are crisp, clean and up to date. Cards are so inexpensive that handing out a less-than-perfect one is a sure sign of lack of attention to detail. Not exactly what you want to convey, right? There are little card carriers of all types that are lightweight enough for an inside pocket or wallet.
▶ Hand out your cards one at a time, and if the person outranks you in any way, wait until you are asked. Use the card as scratch paper to write down a private number, extension or quote. Hand it over with a smile.
Just as important is how you receive a card from others. Treat their card with respect, say thank you, and then spend a brief moment looking it over. If you can say something positive, all the better. “Oh, I see you spell your name with two L's" shows interest even if right now you know you will never need a private chef or nanny. Then carefully put the card away. This shows that you are glad to have it and will keep it in a safe place, not stuffed in your pocket to be thrown out with the old gum wrappers.