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Proper business card etiquette

In Asian countries, business cards are considered an exchange of something important, personal and meaningful between two people.

How does one appear international toward other cultures without actually ever travelling? This is actually easier than you may think.

I’m here in Shanghai, China, and as I observe international culture one thing is evident: local knowledge is power!

In North America and many parts of Europe the business card is not seen as anything of importance, but merely a paper document to facilitate the exchange of business contact details. However, in Asian countries, business cards are considered an exchange of something important, personal and meaningful between two people.

Within Asia it is correct and commonly practiced by everyone to hand your business card to others in the following fashion.


  1. When presenting your card, always use two hands to hold it.

  2. When receiving a business card, always use two hands to receive it.

  3. Once you receive a business card, always look at the card. Remember this is considered important, so you should honour the person giving it to you by reading it.

  4. Hold onto the card and never just discard it. Keep the business card either in your hand or visible on a desk while you are speaking with the person who gave it to you.


So now how does this knowledge relate to you in Canada?

Firstly, if someone hands you a business card in this fashion you will know what to do.

But more importantly, people will have a positive impression of you, your worldly knowledge and your respect for other cultures.


• Have a question? email Charles at askcharlesthebutler@metronews.ca

 
 
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