Are business cards going away?

bump2Remember that business card app that would let you touch your phone to another person’s phone and your contact information would be exchanged? I remember a friend telling me about one called Bump and thinking, wow, what a great idea; except it no longer exists. In fact, of four apps that were tooted in a 2011 article to kill business cards three are gone.

Someone recently emailed me in a panic. As the business development manager for her company she ordered business cards for her new staff. However, her boss cancelled the order saying business cards were going away and being replaced with phone bumping. She asked me if I agreed. I told her no, I believe physical business cards are here to stay for a while.

In order for everyone to be able to exchange information by bumping phones together the app would have to work on all devices. Further, everyone would have to opt into having the app and use it rather than handing out physical business cards. I just don’t see it happening.

Even though we are pretty casual with our business cards in the U.S. there still exists the tradition and ritual of the exchange. That’s why I advise even those who are unemployed to carry a simple card with their contact details.

Maybe once we can touch heads and have the other person’s contact details embedded in our brain business cards will go away. Until then we should always carry our cards with us.

Here are some tips for polite business card exchanges.

  • Keep your cards in a nice case. Not only will your cards stay fresh you’ll look oh so cool pulling them out of a great business card holder. I get compliments on my red leather case all the time.
  • In a mingling situation, wait to hand your cards out until you’ve made a connection with the person you’re talking to or before you’re ready to part. It should not be the first thing you do upon meeting someone.
  • In a meeting, do distribute your cards at the beginning. Be sure to hand or reach your card to each person. Don’t throw them or slide them down the table.
  • When you give someone your card hand it with the information facing the other person, which makes it easier for him to read it.
  • When you receive a card, take a moment to look at it and say something about the card – the person’s title, credentials, company or the card design.
  • Never write on someone’s card in their presence unless they instruct you to do so.
  • Put a person’s card in your shirt pocket, folio or business card case. Never in your back pocket or wallet, especially if the wallet goes into your back pocket. This can be very insulting to others, especially people from Asia.
  • If you happen to have forgotten or run out of cards ask for the other person’s card and follow-up with your contact information.
  • Don’t hand out cards that are wrinkled, bent, stained or have information crossed out or added. Get new cards if they are outdated.

Business cards are here to stay. No bumping required at this point.

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