Monday, October 18, 2010

How to exchange business cards?

One of the most important ritual for businessmen in Asia is exchanging name cards. This is the first step in building up a relationship and it is essential for you to master this art. You want to give as good a first impression as possible!

- How to receive a business card: when you are given a business card, receive it with both hands or with the right hand only in Muslim countries like Malaysia or Indonesia; over there the left hand is considered dirty. Then pay close attention to it, read it carefully and let it rest on the table in front of you for a while before keeping it in your wallet. Putting it away before having read it completely is considered rude.

- How to give your business card: in non-muslim countries like China, Korea, Japan and Thailand, use two hands, very politely. In muslim countries only use the right hand. It must be visible and readable by the person you are giving it to without having to flip it over or to turn it around. Give your business cards individually and only to key people. If you wonder about giving it out to someone, then do it. And don't forget to get your stock ready before a trip to Asia: 100 is a good average for a 3-day visit!

- How to design your business card: it is very important to have your title written in English. You can translate it in the local language as well for better ease of use and if you are planning to spend more time and effort on a specific place. In China, you can go for a phonetic translation of your name; if you decide to do so, make sure you can get it checked by a few locals first in order to make sure it doesn't sound inappropriate. An alternative would be to choose a Chinese name: the Chinese version of "wealth", "luck" or "strength" are well appreciated! If you can't decide, check this Chinese name generator.

[Feel free to use and share this material for non-commercial purpose. And don't hesitate to share your experience and questions in the comments or by email; I will come back to you as quickly as possible. Happy reading!]