The Art of Exchanging Cards

Photo by  Eight

Photo by Eight

Ah, the trusty business card. Even in the digital age, business cards—and the act of exchanging them—will always stand the test of time. Take Japan. The value they hold there attests to just how important business cards are.  When someone hands you a business card, it represents something bigger—trust or the willingness to start a relationship with that person, and in Japan, it's used as an opportunity to show respect.

While exchanging business cards might not seem like a big deal to you, in Japan it is a highly esteemed practice of business etiquette. There are rules and different practices surrounding the seemingly simple act of giving someone your business card.

I recently stumbled on this handy video below about the tradition of Japanese business card exchange.. Whether you are exchanging cards with one person or 20, there are specific rules and expected precision for this social encounter . Not only does this video have exquisite creative direction, but it’s useful.

In Japan there are some hard and fast rules when it comes to exchanging business cards.

You give and receive business cards with both hands.

As you can see in the video, even as the number of people exchanging increases, you use both of your hands. It makes the entire exchange look almost like some sort of dance while ensuring that the exchange is meaningful.

The highest ranking people exchange first.

Especially in Japan, exchanging business cards has a lot to do with showing respect. Let the highest ranking person in the room take the lead.

The card must always be turned towards the receiver.

While it might seem like a small thing, having your business card turned the right way makes you look prepared and ready to present yourself to whomever is taking your business card.

The cards should be on display for the entirety of the meeting.

No matter how many people or how big the table, the business cards stay out during the meeting. That means no shuffling them into your wallet or putting them in a folder – keep them out for all to see.

You don’t have to be in Japan to use business cards for forging relationships. But before you exchange your BCs, make sure the card is perfect. This simple piece of stock is an extension of your brand, which means the card itself should represent your brand in the best way possible. Be as creative as you want, but in a way that aesthetically complies with your brand.

I clearly have a love for business cards. From making them look great as an extension of your brand to the art of exchanging them, I think business cards are incredibly important and a great way to showcase your brand, especially when meeting other people.

What do you think about business cards?