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Business cards and etiquette: What are your do's and don'ts?

Peter Corbett, CEO of iStrategyLabs, with some of the business cards he has kept and still uses for contact information. (Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post)

Most of the time, it's a delight to live in a world where you can smack someone's phone against your own and, in a millisecond, give them roughly 10 ways to reach you.

The digital intertwining doesn't stop there. We can place orders for romance online, Google our bosses and co-workers, and upload résumés at the speed of light. Putting yourself out there for potential relationships takes less effort than ever and it feels pretty awesome -- if just a little bit cheap. Maybe that's why the mighty paper business card is still thriving.

Peter Corbett, chief executive of iStrategyLabs, a D.C. digital marketing firm, told reporter Michael Rosenwald: "You are branding yourself. And I think a lot of people today are also really visual. I might not remember a person's name right away, but I'll remember, oh . . . their card had a green tree and a blue background."

But business cards present us with a tricky set of etiquette issues. For instance, what about that intern who starts throwing cardboard the second she crosses the threshold at a networking event? The sleazy weirdo slipping you his card after one too many happy hour Bud Lights? The fishbowl, full of business contact misfits, resting by the cash register at Chipotle?

We ask you for Your Take: What are your business card etiquette do's and don'ts? We'd like to compile a list of your funniest suggestions, and we'll post them in this blog.

For example:

  • Do invest in a business card holder. This protects against awkwardly fishing around in your wallet and accidentally pulling out something decidedly unprofessional.
  • Don't give a business card by way of greeting. Give someone 10 seconds to get used to you before you exchange cards or bump phones.

While you're brainstorming, you can always post your business card to this gallery -- or take a few cues from this guy:

Here are our favorite tips from readers who used #dosanddonts on Twitter:

Too fancy a business card makes you look like the guy from American Psycho #dosanddontsless than a minute ago via yoono

@washingtonpost saying hold on I got a number on the back I need to write down first. #dosanddontsless than a minute ago via Twitter for BlackBerry®

@WashingtonPost Do include ways to contact you online (must clean up profiles) because let's face it, they'll google you anyway #dosanddontsless than a minute ago via web

@washingtonpost sweaty hands are one (gross) thing, but sweaty business cards guarantee I won't be getting in touch #dosanddontsless than a minute ago via HootSuite

By Katie Rogers  | October 5, 2010; 12:18 PM ET
Categories:  Your Take  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: #Nobel Prize 2010 nominees: who will take the peace prize?
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I use both paper and electronic business cards!
Text jvstacy to 90210 to get my mCard...Mobile Business Card on your mobile phone!

Posted by: jvstacy | October 11, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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