Business Card Etiquette in Different
Countries and Cultures
Globe-trotting international business owners
have much in common: they love to make money and each of them has a
business card! Just as much as businessmen have commonalities, they also have so
many differences. One of which is the way they hand over their business cards.
Japanese businessmen have a different way of presenting their business card
compared to American customs. The same is true to other businessmen from
International conferences and meetings are
important gatherings for businessmen, since they can expand their business
network. So, if you’re a businessperson who frequently goes abroad, or who is
preparing for an international business trip, you should know the business card
etiquettes in different countries. This concept is critical because you might
just create a bad impression for your company simply because you gave your card
Below are the business card etiquettes in
different countries. Study and execute them well for an impressive first
impression to important international businesspeople.
General Rules: In
international conferences, you meet a lot of businesspersons, so be sure to have
a handful of cards with you when you
travel overseas. If your country of destination is not an English speaking
country, you should print a translation at one side of the card. When you offer
the card, be sure to present it with the foreign version side up, not the
English version. This shows respect for the country you are visiting, their
culture, and their language. When you are the one who is offered a card, you
should remember to observe and study it for several seconds before you put it in
your pocket. To most countries overseas, putting away the card right after it
was given is disrespectful. What you should do is clarify the information and
comment a little on it. You can say something like, “It says here that you’re
the Vice-president of your company, you must be a very busy person.” Another
general rule is to offer the card either at the beginning or ending of the
Here are the do’s:
1) Maximize the other side of the card for the Chinese translation. The font
color should be in gold because it is considered to be lucky.
2) Your business cards should reflect your name, the position you hold in your
company, your contact details. It is also useful to indicate the year when your
company was established; the longer the existence of your company is, the
3) When you offer the card, offer it with both hands and make a slight bow.
Here is the don’t:
1) When you receive a card, never write anything on it while the person is still
around the area.
Here are the do’s:
1) Offering and receiving business cards in Japan is very formal. Therefore, use
only quality cards and keep them in perfect condition. The quality of your card
might just make or break your business networking with Japanese businesspeople.
2) You should offer and accept a card with respect the way you would when
talking to the person.
3) Make sure that your title is displayed prominently in the card, since status
is very important to Japanese businesspersons.
4) While you can offer the card using only one hand, you should receive it with
Here’s the don’t:
1) When you’re in a meeting and you receive a card, don’t put it away
immediately. Instead, put it in front of your table and keep it in your
briefcase only after the meeting has ended.
Etiquettes in these countries follow the general rules. They only have one
particular etiquette rule: You cannot and should not offer a card with your left
hand; you should always use your right.
Here are the do’s:
1) You should indicate on your card any academic achievements you have, because
they are given great emphasis in India. If you’re the recipient of an academic
award, or you have any university qualifications, write them in addition to your
name and position.
2) Always use your right hand, and never the left, when offering the card.
North America and United Kingdom: In these
countries, the giving and receiving of business cards is not considered
ceremonial; They’re simply given out as a sort of networking and promotional
tool, and they can be given to virtually anyone, anytime. In times long past,
the US and UK observed polite guidelines for business and calling cards, but
zimply put, these countries no longer observe any particular business card
etiquette at all.
Indeed, learning more about business card
etiquette in other countries will not only help you learn more about that
country’s culture but realize just how diversified global business practices
have become. Now if you need quality business cards to bring along during those
important business meetings overseas, check out
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