5 Mistakes You Make With Business Cards.

They bring me business and success everyday. That's why they are ALWAYS in my left pocket. But most people either don't have them (shame on you) or if they do — have terrible ones. Here are some mistakes people make with business cards:

1. You forget them.

This is the biggest mistake — your card is your brochure, your image, your information in a prospective client's hands — and you now blew it because you forgot your cards. In addition, you now feel uncomfortable because you might or might not get theirs, which is gold in any business or position. Always carry them with you . . . Everywhere. Keep them in your car, your desk, your briefcase.

2. They look awful.

When I hand out my card, I usually get the exclamation, "What a great card!" or "Who did this for you, it's incredible!". Does this happen to you? If not, you need to have your cards made by professionals. If you aren't creative, you need to hire a creative ASAP to design a logo and card for you. And then you need a qualified printer that will print a 'knock-it-out-of-the-park' card. Try 4by6.com or moo.com.

3. They don't have the RIGHT information.

The most important item is your image — the look of your card. What image are you trying to present to your clients? I am an executive and business coach — no flowers or crazy colors on my card (see mine below). Information is also critical — not too much or too little — here's my advice: a. Name of company (logo) b. Name (first & last, no middle name or initial) c. Title d. Phone Number (make it a direct line and say Direct) e. Email f. Address g. Web Site

4. You don't hand or receive them the right way.

So many people use business cards as an afterthought. I immediately ask for them within the first few minutes of meeting someone (or I offer my card). Why? It immediately gives me an opportunity to give them a compliment, it allows me to learn more about them, and it reinforces their name in my head so I can remember it. I usually receive the card and hold it with both hands and make a point of pausing for a few seconds and taking the time to really read the card. It can tell you a lot about that person and give you speaking trajectories to ask more questions — "I see you have an office in Hong Kong, do you travel there often?" "I see that your company is a subsidiary of Pixar, what is it like to work with them?" Most people just take the card and shove it into their pocket. Did you know it's an insult in some countries to shove the card in your pocket and not take the time to read it?

5. You do nothing with them once they hit your pocket.

The biggest mistake! You need to reach out to that person either later that day or the next day and thank them via email (or phone) about your meeting. Just a quick note reinforcing the tenets of your meeting will go so far in your career because most people don't do this. They take the card and forget about you. In addition, you need to immediately get that person's information in your contact system. So you can put them on your eBlast list or just in your phone/address list in case they call back - you then have their name appearing on your cell phone.

What mistakes do you make with business cards? What new ideas or techniques do you use to get your business card noticed?