Category Archives: Business Cards

Business Card Etiquette Around the World

If you’ve never done business overseas, you might not realise that business card etiquette is a real thing! Most people that hand out business cards do so without thinking—you talk to somebody that you want to connect with, and if all goes well, you’ll say “Hey—here’s my business card!”

But elsewhere, this might be seen as unprofessional (or even rude). And that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to establish a new contact or do business with somebody.

So, what rules of business card etiquette do you have to follow? Are they the same all around the world, or do they differ in different cultures? Let’s find out.

Business Card Etiquette: General Guidelines

Below are a number of general guidelines, each of which will improve your chances of establishing a successful contact. Some of them only apply when abroad, but others apply when accepting or offering a business card in any situation. You have to learn how to follow this basic etiquette before thinking about culture-specific guidelines!

Make Sure You Bring Enough Cards

Forgetting to bring enough business cards—or forgetting your business cards, full stop—is a cardinal sin. You should always carry your card case with you, with at least a couple dozen cards inside. This will ensure that you always have enough, because you may have to hand out several at the start of a meeting. You don’t want to leave anyone out!

Why is this important? Because you may have just spent the last twenty minutes talking to somebody who could make a great connection, and they’ve handed you their card… But you pat your pockets, only to say “Hold on—I think I’ve left my cards at home.” Needless to say, the contact won’t be impressed.

This applies whether you’re handing out business cards at home or in a foreign country. Forgetfulness isn’t a sign of business success no matter where you’re from.

A related point is to keep your business cards in the same place at all times—like an inner jacket pocket. Having to pat yourself down to find your cards looks awkward, as if you never have to give them out. Definitely not a good impression to give.

What Language Should Your Card Be In?

This is one of the easiest business card guidelines to get wrong. Let’s say that you’re travelling to Japan for a conference. Before you go, you should have special business cards printed for your trip: one side should be in English (or whichever language you primarily do business in), and one side should be in Japanese.

When you present your card, you should present it with the Japanese side up, for ease of reading. Naturally, you should print your cards in the language of whatever country you’re visiting, not just Japanese!

Why is this important? Consider for a second if the situation was reversed. At your conference, you’re given a card—but it’s all in Japanese. Not being able to read Japanese, you don’t know who gave you the card or what they do!

It’s also disrespectful. It comes across as assuming that they can, or should, speak English. Contrast that with the thoughtfulness of having special business cards printed for your trip, and it’s obvious why it’s important.

What to Do with a Business Card When You’re Given One

Another basic thing you can get wrong is what you do when you’re given a card. Because you’ve likely been talking with the person before receiving it, you’ll already know much of what’s written on there. As such, your first instinct might be to put it straight into your pocket. But that’s a big no-no.

Why is this important? It shows a lack of respect. It might not occur to you that it’s in any way disrespectful—but again, contrast it with other things you could do. Better etiquette would see you look at the card, comment on it, and clarify any questions you might have about it before putting it away.

When Should You Offer a Business Card?

Finally, you should only give your business card at certain times during an interaction. The done thing is to offer a card either at the beginning or the end of your meeting. This allows you to gauge whether or not the person will be receptive to one… And there’s no point giving a card to someone who doesn’t want one.

One thing you shouldn’t do is offer a card to somebody you’re not talking to. At best, if you’re handing out cards indiscriminately, you’re wasting your own time and money. At worst, you’re essentially passing out junk mail to people who didn’t ask for it—which is definitely rude. This applies wherever you’re doing business: at home in the U.K., or abroad.

Why is this important? The point of a business card is to form a lasting contact. As such, you would typically give one at the end of a meeting. If you already know that you’re going to do business together, then giving one at the beginning of a meeting makes sense too.

Not only that, but to give one halfway through a meeting is a little presumptuous. You’re assuming that the person wants to do business with you, rather than waiting to see the direction that the meeting is heading. Maybe they don’t want one!

And, of course, handing out business cards like it’s going out of fashion is essentially real-life spam.

Culture-Specific Business Card Etiquette

Now it’s time to think about how each culture designs and offers their business cards. Asian countries in particular have guidelines that most people follow, which it would benefit you if you followed too.

Chinese Business Card Guidelines

The most basic rules of giving business cards all apply in China, too. Make sure that you:

  • Offer the card face up
  • When receiving a card, study it, and don’t write on it
  • Treat the practise of giving and receiving cards with respect

You should offer the card with both hands in a respectful gesture. This is the done thing across Asia, and it makes sense: it makes the giving and receiving of business cards into an important act.

When designing a business card to give to Chinese contacts, using red and gold as the primary colours you design with would be a smart move. In Chinese culture, red symbolises good fortune, while gold (naturally) represents wealth. These meanings attributed to colour are more important in China than anywhere else in the world.

When designing your card, though, don’t go overboard: gold lettering with a red logo, for example, would be tasteful but effective.

When translating your business card, don’t just ask for it in ‘Chinese’. Chinese has many dialects, the most common being Cantonese and Mandarin. Mandarin is the most widely used—and is the official state language—while Cantonese is by far the more common in the south-east (in Guangdong and Guanxi provinces). So, check where your contacts will be from and adjust accordingly. If you’re not sure, go with Mandarin.

Something else to note is that Cantonese is the language most commonly spoken by Chinese communities abroad, e.g. in the U.S. and Europe. If in doubt, ask somebody who will know!

Japanese Business Card Guidelines

Japanese culture is known around the world for being centred on respect. Giving and receiving business cards is no different—it’s practically ceremonial.

Japanese business cards, known as meishi, have carried great weight since Japan’s economic miracle following the Second World War. And because of their importance, and Japan’s unique culture, the giving and receiving of meishi has become ritualised and important. There are a number of things you can easily get wrong:

  • You should never receive a business card but refuse to give one in return.
  • You should never bend a business card you receive.
  • You should never write on a business card you receive, at least in the giver’s presence.
  • You should offer the card with both hands (just like in China).
  • You should offer the card face-up, so that the person who receives it doesn’t have to turn it over.

It’s also advised that you carry a business card case with you at all times. When you receive a card, you should put it in here rather than in your pocket. Having a holder would also avoid the embarrassing situation of receiving a card but not being able to give one, because you forgot yours at home!

The last thing to remember is that the importance of meishi means they shouldn’t be handed out left, right and center. In the Western world, business cards are handed out to any potential contact, or even pinned to notice boards. But if you hand out business cards to anybody and everybody you meet on a business trip to Japan, they lose their prestige. It’s better to hold onto them and only give them out when necessary.

Middle Eastern Business Card Guidelines

Traditional Middle Eastern business cards look similar to those from elsewhere in the world: they feature your name, address, website, phone and fax number, as well as the company’s logo. But when giving and receiving business cards, the exact protocol differs by country.

  • In the U.A.E., guidelines are relaxed: you can hand them out during any occasion.
  • In Bahrain, business cards are given away to practically anyone you meet in a business setting.
  • In Israel, again, there are no hard rules—although they’re typically handed out at the beginning of a meeting.

One rule you shouldn’t ever break is that a card should always be handed out with your right hand. It’s very disrespectful to use your left.

Indian Business Card Guidelines

Last but not least, India has several guidelines as to the giving and receiving of business cards. Just like the Middle East, you should never offer your business card with your left hand; always your right.

Translating your business card is a little more difficult for India, as the country doesn’t have just one official language—it has two Hindi and English, alongside 22 scheduled languages which are commonly spoken in different states.

This makes it difficult to know which language to use! Hindi is the most common, with the language and its dialects accounting for the main language of 44% of Indian citizens. As such, it’s no great sin to use English. But if you know which language the receiver does business in, feel free to print one side in that language too.

Aside from that, you should consider putting your academic achievements on the card. These are highly valued in India—more so than in other parts of the world. So, if you have university qualifications (and especially postgraduate qualifications), make it clear what they are and where you got them from on your card.

Business Card Etiquette in the U.S.

Guidelines in the U.S. are more relaxed than they are elsewhere in the world. If you’re generally quite polite, then you won’t fall foul of any hidden rules you weren’t expecting. A few things to note:

  • It’s not impolite to write in the blank space on a business card, either before you offer one, or after you receive one. In fact, if you’re offering a personal email address or phone number, it’s a good thing.
  • If you’re aware that the meeting will be business related, feel free to offer a card before it starts. This will avoid any embarrassing moments where you forget one another’s names.

In terms of design, there really are no rules to be aware of. Feel free to opt for something flashier than average. People from the U.S. have easily been the biggest users of business cards over the last few decades.

As such, there’s more of a backlash against boring, plain white business cards here than elsewhere. With an eye-catching design—especially if you run your own business, or work in a creative industry—could go a long way.

5 Tips To Help Perfect Your Work-From-Home Routine

Working from home is great on so many levels – from the 15 second commute to getting to wear sweat pants. Nothing quite compares to doing your job from the comfort of your own home. But there are challenges as well. How do you prevent yourself from being distracted? How do you turn off when you know your laptop is there all the time? Here are some tips for perfecting your work-from-home routine:

Have a Work Schedule. Most people who work from home struggle to turn off – which is completely understandable when your office is only a few steps away. Without a routine it can be easy to find yourself scrolling down your Instagram feed all day and then working into the early hours of the morning when you realise you’re behind. Without routine or boundaries your mind won’t turn off and your productivity will suffer greatly.

Get Some Fresh Air. Working from home in some cases can lead to you being sat at the kitchen table from 8am-5pm before you crawl onto the sofa to catch up on ‘The Chase’. It’s crucial that you take at least 30 minutes half way through your day to go for a short walk or nip to the shop not only to increase your creativity levels but to insure that you don’t go crazy. You don’t want to end up naming every bird that lands in your back garden and sharing their daily routine with all of your loved ones. All in all, a change of scenery is good for the mind and your health so, it doesn’t matter where you go, just get yourself out.

Create a Work Environment for Yourself. As appealing as typing away whilst you’re led in bed watching the latest episode of Jeremy Kyle might be – the chances are it’s not going to lead to you being productive. Find a spot in your home that is the furthest away from the commotion, or why not consider making space in the garage? Creating a work zone is one of the best ways to make sure you can remain focused and produce some work of a high standard.

Have Time Out. Working from home can feel like one big break however, it’s this kind of thinking which can lead to problems occurring. Even though you’re in the comfort of your own home, you still need some time off throughout the day – whether that be a read of a book, a short walk or simply relaxing for a while. Giving yourself time to recharge can allow your day to go much smoother due to your being refreshed and able focused.

Keep Work & Personal Time Separate. You work when you say you will therefore, you should give yourself time off when you have promised to. Even though your office is in your home it is super important that you clock out and stay clocked out, as tempting as it may be to add something to that spread sheet or quickly change an error you know you have made, it simply shouldn’t be an option. Over-working and not having enough time to yourself can burn you out and lead to an increase in stress levels.

With Great Power Comes A Great Business Card: Part 2

Welcome to part two of our superhero business card showcase. Our designers did such a great job, they even covered super soldiers and Asgardian gods! If you haven’t seen our previous designs, check them out on page one. If you have, let’s see what our team cooked up for the rest of our heroes, as well as one of our all-time favourite villains.

Check out our designs and click through them to see them in their full-scale glory!

Mr. Blake

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Asgardian gods are no stranger to helping out us mere mortals, though contacting them is a little bit harder…

Mr. Queen

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Sometimes you don’t need heat-vision or super speed. Sometimes, you just want an old fashioned hero, getting the job done with a bow and arrow.

Mr. Allen

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For when you need a problem solved just a second after you’ve thought of it.

Mr. Rogers

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Heroes stand as symbols of freedom, but they may not have caught up to the technology we use in our everyday lives.

Mr. Xavier

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If we knew we’d get to be superheroes at the end of it, we would’ve paid more attention in Maths class too.

Mr. Curry

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You’ve got to stay prepared for whatever environment you’re in, so if you’re a particularly water themed hero, laminate is the only option.

We don’t know how this one got in there…

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You can browse our range of business cards (powers not included) as well as cards, invitations and wedding stationery and try to make yours as cool as these. Just remember, it isn’t what you are underneath, but what you do that defines you!

With Great Power Comes A Great Business Card: Part 1

Superheroes have flooded screens of every size, dominating the box office and our TVs at home. With so many heroes running around, it can be difficult to know who to contact if you ever need them. Luckily, we’re on the case, and one of our designers had some fun whipping up a couple of business cards for your favourite caped crime-fighters to leave once they’ve saved the day for us scared, helpless civilians.

Click through our designs to see them in full-scale. You’ll definitely need to for Mr. Lang!

Mr. Banner

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Remember to take care of your cards, even if you’re tearing through tanks and buildings.

Mr. Murdock

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For those of you wondering, the braille reads “don’t judge me by my movie”!

Mr. Kent

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Kryptonite is a harmful substance that can cause mood swings, mutations, and even remove your superpowers (providing you’re from another planet).

Mr. Wayne

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For those who work alone. Or at least refuse to acknowledge all of the help they receive.

Ms. Prince

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Let’s hear it for the girls! And the next time you’re in danger, don’t forget about the Amazonians.

Mr. Lang

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You might need a microscope for these designs, though just remember big things can come in small packages.

Mr. Stark

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Not every superhero is humble. Sometimes you’ve just got to show off the goods

Mr. Parker

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Superheroes come in all shapes and sizes, and from all ages! Some people just have a little crazier ‘extra-curricular activity’ than others.

Be sure to check out the rest of our design over on page two. Unfortunately, these aren’t for sale, but why not try to make one of your own personalised business card?