By Colleen Harding
When was the last time you went to a Rolodex to get a phone number? When was the last time you searched for someone’s business card to retrieve his or her number? Is the business card on its way out? Today we seem to be “sharing” contact information far quicker and more often than asking for a business card. Grabbing ones phone, hitting contacts and a + (add) seems to be quick and common these days.
Protocol for extending a business card is that the card needs to be requested before extending. Otherwise, a person may come across as pushy or aggressive. You are allowed to ask if you “may offer your card,” but you cannot assume and force the card in someone’s hand without permission to do so. It is an assumption that can get you into trouble if it is misinterpreted.
That same goes for requesting someone’s information. It must be requested before offering.
It is also important to make sure a person is OK with you sharing their information. Some people do not want their personal cell phone information shared. This is an important point to consider before sharing information to someone. There may also be additional information that this person doesn’t want strangers to know like home addresses or additional numbers.
Although many of us may still have boxes and/or stacks of business cards from past associates or potentials, they may soon find their way to the trash if technology continues to flourish. Instead of asking if you may offer your business card, you may find yourself saying, “May I share my information with you or can I give you my information?”
Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. She can be reached at (216) 970-5889 and firstname.lastname@example.org.