Principles of diplomatic etiquette and business communication with foreign partners (III)

21/02/2014 4:15pm

Автор: editorial

Категории: business ethics


Principles of diplomatic etiquette and business communication with foreign partners (III)

 The article is devoted to Ushakov B.G.
Foreign Trade Academy, Moscow.

Business cards. Instructions for use.

Exchange of cards is the integral form of business communication in external relations. Business card is the norm and rule of good courtesy. Business card is widely used in business communication and protocol diplomatic practice. They are exchanged during acquaintance, for long-distance introduction, extension of thanks or sympathy, flowers and presents are sent with them. Business cards are made typographically. The text is printed in Russian and overleaf in foreign language. The name of institute (company), name of a person is stated and the post of owner below. Scholastic degree must be also stated, in the bottom left corner – full address, in the right corner – phone numbers and fax.
Size of business cards and printing type are not restricted. Local practice influences them. In Ukraine there is the following standard - 70х90 or 50х90 mm. 
Women according to the traditions state their full name only. But nowadays they participate in business life and with increasing frequency give more details about their post or scholastic degree. There are common rules regulating the peculiarities of business cards during their usage by women: on sent and left cards the post is not printed. 
As a rule business cards are exchanged personally, adhering to a principle of mutuality. A person, having visited the other person, leaves his business card. If a business card is delivered personally, but without visiting, he fractures it from the right side in full width. This rule is referred to diplomatic practice. In some cases business cards are sent by post or by courier (the last guaranties delivery performance).
Leaving or sending business cards that substitute personal visit, in the bottom left corner, depending on the situation, there made the following inscriptions with lead pencil:

   - p.r. (pour remercier) - extension of thanks; 
   - p.f. (pour feliciter) –
congratulations on the occasion of holiday
   - p.f.c. (pour faire connaissance) –
expression of satisfaction from acquaintance
   - p.f.N.a. (pour feliciter Nouvel an) - New Year's Day
   - p.p.c. (pour prendre conge) –
during leave-taking, when the visit was not made
   - p.c. (pour condoler) - expression of sympathy; 
   - p.p. (pour presenter) –
during introduction or recommendation of other person.  

In case of long-distance friendship, business card of introducing person is sent along with recommending one, where the inscription "p.p." is made. Business card is sent without subscription as the answer to introducing person.
There may be other inscriptions on business cards. Herein one should remember that this inscription is made from the third person, for example: “Thanks for congratulations”, “Congratulates with a holiday” , etc.
These rules are of protocol character and are observed in most cases in diplomatic practice. Certain peculiarities of business cards usage have been formed in business sphere. They have particular importance during business communication, where persons of different cultures and nations participate.
Strict regulation of business cards usage, first of all, concerns such type of business communication as negotiation process. Herein the mandatory attribute of first meeting with foreign partner is the exchange of business cards.
The exchange of business cards begins from the most high-ranking members of a delegation and goes in accordance with subordination. According to etiquette business cards of heads of the house are given fist. The Japanese and Koreans follow this rule especially strict, for which the breach of hierarchy is equal to offence. The Americans and Europeans are more liberal here. There are simple but obligatory rules of business card handing: one should give it to the partner with the appropriate side in order to read it. The other part should pronounce aloud his name in order the partner to learn pronunciation of your name.
In Asia it is common to hand them with both hands, on the West there is no special procedure. Accept cards one should with both hands as well or with right hand. During exchange both partners bow in a lissome way. Having accepted the business card, one should read the name in the presence of a partner and enquire about his post. While communication one should put business cards in front of yourself in order not to confuse the names. It is better to sort them in the order how the partner sit in front of you. One cannot rumple someone else’s business card, mark it up and twist it reflectively when the owner watching. This can be accepted as disrespect or even offence. If you do not recognize a person whom you have already met and with whom you have already exchanged with business cards, it will damage your reputation.

The history of business cards usage started long ago and nowadays there are certain common norms and rules of their usage.
As a rule business card is made as square-angled piece of white semicompact cardboard of good quality, which has a clear imprint of full name along with other information, which the owner wants to state. There are no clear regulations concerning business card size, but usually men’s cards are bigger then women’s ones (90 х 50 mm and 80 х 40 mm). In Great Britain vice versa. Business card of a young lady may be even smaller - 70 х 35 mm. One should think over the business card was of the standard size in order to avoid its bending for keeping in special album for business cards.
The most common rule for printing type of business cards is easiness in reading. The name is usually written semi-bold of large size. It is not recommended to use complex Gothic or fantasy text. One should be careful in usage of italic text, if you have hardly pronounceable surname, or if it concerns business card in foreign language.
As a rule a business card should have black text on a white background without any decoration. Recently there is wide choice of plastic colored cards or even made of leather. But the norms of etiquette do not recommend to vary from standard black-white chord. One should rather concentrate on the choice of high-grade paper, which may be a little toned or have satin finish. One should avoid glazed surface of a card. Colored and unusual cards are appanage of artists, service industry staff and advertising agents. Black frame on a business card may be present in a sign of mourning.
In some countries there are double-sided cards with the text in foreign language on the back. If one keeps the strict norms, it is not correct, because back side is distinguished for some marks. That is why it is better to order separate cards in both languages. But nevertheless, double-sided cards are possible in common. The main here is following the rules of card in foreign language decoration.
In current practice there are business, personal and family cards. There are also cases of combined business cards, where there is both personal and service data of the owner.
Business cards are the integral feature of modern business communication. The first meeting usually starts with business cards exchange.  They have particular significance while cooperation with foreigners and people, which do not speak your native language. The owner’s full name, name of organization must be clearly printed on the business card. Business card may also contain a rank or handle to one's name, post at your organization, phone numbers, fax and e-mail. Business card without address does not correspond to the norms of etiquette (the exception is diplomatic community and higher government officials). If your address is changing and you still do not know your new phones, it is better to state official company address, secretariat or administrative office telephone. If the organization has several branches, then there may be stated several addresses on its representatives’ business cards.
Clerks’ or service companies’ business cards in their decoration may vary from etiquette standard – it is not just informational but also promotional products. Such business card may contain photo of its owner, colorific company symbol, company motto and on the back sometimes there is small scheme of localities.
Except your full name, business card may contain additional information, which you would like to present. As a rule it is printed with a small text and in the right lower corner.
On the business card under the name may also be printed your scholastic degree (professor, doctor, major general, candidate of engineering sciences, etc).  You should not be surprised when finding on personal business card of your foreign partner club address instead of his home address (there are cases when both club address – in the left corner and home address – in the right corner). Women do not usually state any additional information on their private business card.
The other kind of business cards is family card. It is used during acquaintance or sending congratulations to friends with attached business card. One should remember that the name of husband goes after wife’s one. There may be no address on the family business card.
Turning to usage of cards in business, it is important to mention, that business card should contain not only the data you should present, but also promote image cultivation by your partner. Etiquette in business cards usage plays significant role.
There are several types of business cards: standard card of a businessman, wife’s card, card for a couple, commercial card.
Sending a business card in some cases is equal to visit. There should not be any postscript on a business card, except standard abridgements or phrases in French. If the card is left personally, it is fractured in a specific way (figure 1). Sometimes the card may be sent by courier (or driver). In this case the card must not be fractured (it is tasteless). If the card is sent by post (non-recommended), then the inscription on the envelope is made clearly in ink or ball-point pen. If the card is sent per carrier or driver, then the inscription on the clear envelope is made with a pencil.
Fracture line of a business card.
                                                            Figure 1. Fracture line of a business card.

As an answer for business card one should sent within 24 hours his business card. Pone call is also possible.
It is not customary to hand personally cards of expression of thanks or any other feelings.
On the occasion oh holiday first congratulate those, who are working in the host country or foreigners.
Business cards are the integral feature of modern business communication.
If your phone number has changed, it is possible to write in carefully a new one, having crossed the old one (non recommended).
Business card without address does not correspond to norms of etiquette (the exception is diplomatic community and higher government officials).

Usage of business card

Business cards are widely used to express good feelings, congratulations and condolences. To enclose a business card with post card or small letter is full of decency. One may write a few words from the third person on a card. Business card attached to bunch of flowers is a gesture of gratitude to an actor, artist or just familiar in special day.
First of all, business cards are used during acquaintance - long-distance or private friendship. During first personal meeting after the words of introduction one may hand the business card to the partner. Having received the card, one should read the name closely, especially if its pronunciation is difficult. 
During such acquaintance it is possible to make notes in a pencil from the third person.
If you do not have your business card, you must sent it.
Unlike the business cards, exchange of combined cards may take place in the end of acquaintance while negotiation about further communication.
Business cards of salesmen, restaurant-keepers and printers may lie on the desk. In this case the visitors may take them themselves. In other cases the card is handed, but it is normal to ask for the business card of the interesting for you person, having proposed him yours one.
There are common principles of business cards exchange, the same as for acquaintance: the younger hands his card first to the elder, man to woman (woman is not obliged to hand her card in reply). Business cards exchange, as a rule, is accompanied  with short conversations as the aim of business card is to secure first impression. One should not give his business card to unknown people, as well as one should not expect to receive a business card from little-known person, with whom you had exchanged a few polite words at a public reception.
If you send business card to a married woman, you should send it in a set of two.  Woman as a diplomatic member should send to a married couple two business cards.
In a residence of a married couple, one should also leave his business card in a set of two (especially if it concerns a bachelor).
After being introduced to a woman, man should send his business card in a set of two within seven days.
A woman never leaves her business card in the house of a bachelor and in the house of a married couple leaves two cards.
A married couple leaving business cards in the house of other married couple, leaves one husband’s business card for the man and one family card – for woman (in England two husband’s business cards and wife’s card are left).




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