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Present your card with both hands to create an enormous psychological impact.

If you can't seem to find a suitable moment to give your card to someone you feel could be a great prospect, ask for his or her card. In fact, ask for two or three. Tell them you want extras to distribute to people you know. Odds are, they'll ask for your card in return.

Introduce yourself with your card. Hand your card to the receptionist at the doctor's office, the hostess at the restaurant, or the technician at the auto repair shop.

Include your card with all correspondence.

Offer to include business cards on your website as a community service (announce this to the media!)

Refer business to others. Offer to include the cards of business people you respect with your mailings, if they'll agree to do the same with yours. Join a business-networking group.

Develop a system for carrying and collecting business cards, and file them the way you remember them (by company name, person's name, or industry).

When you come across the card of a business person you'd like to meet, save the info on the card for your files. Send the original card back to the owner with a note on the back, such as "We need to talk!"

When you carry a lot of cards, or want a disposable card holder, use a plastic audiocassette case. Break off the inner tabs, and you have a new display case!

Anything you do to personalize your card makes it more memorable, so write a brief message on it before handing it to someone: your name, "Best wishes!" or "Thanks!", all work well.

Put a recent photo of yourself on your card if you're in a "relationship" business (counselor, attorney, realtor). It will help people relate to you as a person. Cards with photos are LESS likely to be thrown away, and MORE likely to be placed on top of a pile of cards! Also consider using a photo if you conduct business in other countries, since your gender may not be obvious from your (unfamiliar) first name.

Sometimes a photo of your product or service may be more appropriate than a picture of yourself.

Highlight your telephone number (or primary contact number), by putting it in bold text or in a larger size than other numbers. It's most easily read if it is located in the lower right-hand corner of the card.

List the name you prefer to be called (e.g. Ed or Edward). Add your middle name (or a photo) if your first name is unisex, such as Pat or Chris. Official designations such as M.D. should go after your name.

Unless your industry is very formal and title-conscious, consider leaving it off completely. If someone asks, simply respond "I'm the person responsible for assuring your satisfaction with our company."

Print two sets of cards with differing titles: one general (Attorney at Law) and one specific (Personal Injury Specialist). Distribute cards to match the situation and personality of the recipient.

A humorous title can make your card stand out and make you seem more approachable: "Computer Guru" or "People Pleaser"... Dave Thomas, CEO of Wendy's, used cards with the title "Wendy's Dad".

If you have a toll-free number, be sure to put it on your card, and label it as such. Some people may not recognize the toll-free prefix. Avoid abbreviations if you can. They "cheapen" your card.

Protect yourself by placing the trademark or service mark symbol (small "tm" or "sm") next to the company name. You can use the symbol even if you have not federally registered the mark.

A personal card, containing just your name and contact information, is very useful for new endeavors or when networking outside your industry. It's also a GREAT GIFT for the college graduate!

If possible, add to the value of your card by printing on BOTH SIDES. Include useful business or community information, or information related to your industry. Successful ideas include: Map for directions, appointment scheduler or reminder, check-off list, emergency phone numbers, advertisement or tips on your service or on your company's best-selling product.

Text slightly changed. Original text written by Diana Ratliff, the Business Card Expert
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