Years ago when I was contemplating the design of my business card, I thought long and hard about the logo, the colors and the card stock I wanted to use to represent my company. I came up with the above card displaying a mansion which I thought was representative of many of the homes in Beverly Hills and utilizing a moss green and mauve pink (seen on the back of my card with all of my contact info) to page homage to one of my city’s most famous landmarks, the Beverly Hills Hotel.

I take pride in presenting my business card and it is usually met with favorable comments which always makes me feel good. Not until I started learning more about business etiquette did I truly understand the value of the business card and the care and respect with which it should be treated. Like George Costanza, I would just stuff a new card into my already full wallet letting it bend and fold with the rest of the contents and never really giving it the complete attention it deserved.

Nowadays, it seems that the passing out of traditional business cards has gone the way of the land line telephone and handwritten thank you notes. Cards that once contained a street address, phone number and fax now display an email address and Twitter handle. Rather than shake someone’s hand and exchange a paper business card, acquaintances are using smartphone applications or quick emails to exchange contact information.

I am a champion of the traditional business card as I am the handwritten thank you note and thankfully, a recent article in the New York Times pointed out that, “the business card does have a logistical advantage though: the universal ease of exchange. Swapping information mid-conversation or in a noisy crowd can be more cumbersome than pressing paper to palm. And not everyone owns a smartphone, or has the same applications for sharing.”

Since it appears that traditional business cards have maintained a few useful attributes, let’s take a moment to review some tips for purpose, presentation and storing.

1. A Valuable Tool. The business card is a valuable tool that should be utilized in all of your business dealings. Business cards are a representation of a company’s brand and corporate culture. They are also used as an effective way to communicate one’s position within a company.

2. Status Symbol. There is a certain status attached to the company business card. It is instant credibility and shows others that you are employed and official.

3. Have Plenty on Hand. Make sure to have plenty of cards available, especially if you will be networking, and keep them organized in an attractive card case. You don’t want to be caught digging in your purse or wallet to find one. I use a beautiful silver antique looking cigarette case which holds my cards perfectly and also allows me a separate compartment to hold any new cards I may receive.

3. Present Them Properly. Always present your card with your right hand or both hands with the print facing the recipient. Never present your card with only your left hand as this is disrespectful in certain cultures.

4. Show Your Respect. When you receive a business card, take the time to view the card, place it in an appropriate and respectful place and refrain from writing on the card.

5. Don’t Be Bashful. If you would like to offer your business card to someone who has not asked for it, simply ask for theirs first.

6. Transfer Information Immediately. After an event or dinner in which I’ve received business cards, the first thing I do is transfer the information to my computer (which I regularly sync with my Blackberry) so that I have an online version and then I tuck the card into my desk drawer for safe-keeping. This way I have something I can physically see and touch should I need to refer to it in the future.

7. Virtual Business Cards. Still want to go virtual? Newer sites like, and allow users to create and share virtual business cards. There are also smart cards with QR codes (quick response) that can be scanned using an application like and some smart phones can exchange contact information simply by holding the phones together!

Do you prefer paper or virtual? Do you think the business card still holds credence? Share with us, we’d love to hear from you!