Not sure when exactly to exchange business cards or how to do it? Today’s article is for you!

The right time
Definitely towards the end of the interaction with your interlocutor. This signalises that you enjoyed the conversation and wish to stay in touch. Try to also express this explicitly, for instance by saying something like “I loved talking with you about reciprocity in networking. Let’s resume this chat in front of a cup of coffee soon! Do you have a business card?”. Your request for your interlocutor’s card as opposed to you offering yours indicates that you’re so thrilled about the encounter that you can’t wait to do the follow-up. This will be perceived as a compliment, and even greater rapport will be created. Which, in turn, will lead your new contact to ask for your card too.

The right gestures
Hand your business card straight, so your interlocutor doesn’t have to turn or flip it in order to be able to read it. Choose the side that represents you better. In my case, it’s the side with my one° logo, which I’m particularly proud of. If you wish to juice up the exchange, you can give your business card with two hands. This is what Asians do, but with a completely different tonality: for them, the exchange of business cards is a solemn act. And if you would like to apply some Western drinking culture to the interaction, look your interlocutor in the eyes, as if you were making a toast. This builds rapport too.

The right thing to say
Look at the card you’ve just received attentively, find a detail you enjoy and give a compliment about it. If the card is so bad that there is nothing to appreciate, you don’t have to lie: you can just make a comment about one of its elements, or simply ask about it. As we have seen, questions are an excellent technique to manage conversations. This way, you will at least show interest, which will help you connect with your interlocutor on a deeper level. Always keep in mind that an entrepreneur’s business card is the extension of their brand, and they most probably worked on its design for a long time!

Now, I beg you, don’t put the business card in your pocket or in your bag, but keep it in your hands until the end of the interaction. If the conversation carries on for a few more minutes, make sure you look at the card at least another time, and when you really get to the moment of good-bye, thank your interlocutor again for the conversation and/or the business card, and say that you’ll be in touch.

The right people
It goes without saying that you can’t go for coffee or even nurture an online relationship with everyone you meet, so there’s nothing wrong with being selective about the people you exchange business cards with. Yet do stay in touch with the people you exchange contact details with. In order to do this, we’ll discover the art of the follow-up soon.