How do you feel about being handed a business card from someone you have met for the first time? Of course circumstances can differ. If you are a woman leaning over the frozen food counter in the local grocery mart trying to decide between a chicken breast or salmon fillet for dinner and a smarmy looking guy with a bad comb over hands you a card that says amateur photographer, then I suspect you are somewhat flattered but wary. I guess? Yikes! But if on the other hand you are in a legitimate business situation perhaps a chamber of commerce event, networking mixer or even a social situation including a group of like minded individuals then how do you feel?
Business cards can be good ice breaker. At times they can be perceived as a bit formal. But over all they do carry the pertinent contact information we need to communicate to potential clients, customers and business allies. So generally speaking how do you feel?
I posed the question at the website http://www.ask500peopl.com, where you can poll site visitors on virtually any subject. So I asked, “How do you feel about being handed a business card from someone you have met for the first time? I offered the following reply choices.
- First: It seems pushy. I do not like it.
- Second: It does not bother me but I will probably discard it.
- Third: It does not bother me I will probably keep it for awhile if they provide a product or service I may use in the near future.
- Fourth: I am happy to have it as it helps me remember who they are and what they do.
In a 24 hour period 127 random individuals responded. The majority, over 60 percent were favorable split more-or-less evenly between the third and fourth choices of “happy to have it” and “I will probably keep it.” Less than 20 percent responded that they felt it was pushy and they did not like it. So if you are in an average size networking group or social party of about 25 people the odds are there are less than a handful of people who might feel you are being too aggressive by handing them your business card.
As the author of the book “Turn your Business Card Into Business” I have researched business card topics extensively and it is my observation that potential business card givers are inordinately concerned about being rejected or perceived as being overly aggressive, when in fact most people are happy to have you present your card. It helps some of us with poor memories to remember your name and what you do. It generally stimulates more conversation, and it provides the recipient with the contact information he or she might use in the event you can provide a needed product or service.
Admittedly this is not exactly a scientific study because for one thing, I did not define the circumstances under which the card is presented. But generally speaking I think it is safe to say that most people will gladly accept your offer and many may actually appreciate it.