by Ginger Philbrick
In a book about the 19th century, it said it was customary to leave a calling card at a person’s house to show interest in being invited for a visit. Later, business people exchanged cards and handshakes with new acquaintances.
Now, I often meet people in the business settings who don’t use business cards. We exchange contact information by entering it into our cell phones.
What is the most polite way to exchange contact information these days. I still have two boxes of business cards left and I would like to keep using them.
Denise DeVries, Kilmarnock
There is good news for you, Ms. DeVries. According to the Emily Post Institute, business cards are “making a comeback, even in our digital world.” Whether given at the start of an introduction, or at parting, there are several reasons for their return to favor:
• They make a good first impression if they are on good quality paper and are clean. Beware of the smudge from the hamburger you just ate or the dog-eared result from having been too long in your wallet.
• They are easy to use. They take only a few seconds to exchange, unlike the less smoothly accomplished, and less personal, task of orally repeating your information.
• Your information is 100% correct. Errors caused by hearing incorrectly or chubby fingers have been known to occur with digital entries.
• They are able to give more information about your business, a simple source of improved marketing. The addition of a QR code is also possible.
• They can be passed on. For example, a supply of your cards in a holder on your desk or business counter makes it easy for clients and customers to take a couple or so and pass them to prospective contacts.
I love business cards because of their sophistication and efficiency. They usually have such delightful personalities, too, giving the receiver an added look at the nature of the person they represent.
My first business card had a multicolored pinwheel logo at the top of my contact information and was printed crosswise on 2” x 3-½ card stock. I was confident that it represented a positive attitude and willingness to work with a diverse public. And, if that failed, it made a very attractive bookmark!
Ginger Philbrick is the owner of Because You Are Polite LLC. You are invited to email your manners questions to her and she will respond as time and space allow. You may contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.