商务英语活学活用 名片(3)
日期:2016-07-13 11:29



The French claim that visiting cards first appeared in their land in the seventeenth century while the Chinese seek to prove that visiting cards were invented by their ancestors shortly after they had concocted explosive powder. However, the first ever known sample of a visiting card, dating back to 1786, was found in Germany. Gradually, with the development of certain rules of use, the cards had become common by the nineteenth century.


Do you know which corner of a visiting card you must fold when leaving it with a footman in order to indicate that you have called on to inquire after the master's health? No? Neither do I, but only a hundred years ago this knowledge was as vital for an aristocrat as dancing and polite conversation.


Visiting cards used to be an indispensable attribute of the etiquette and the rules of their use were as sophisticated as those of cutlery. At that time visiting cards belonged to the notions of such consequence like title, rank, land, horses etc.


First businessmen used their cards as marks of distinction and thus introduced the first modifications in their design. Later, as the growing demand for the cards boosted the development of the printing industry, more and more sophisticated card design patterns appeared.


On the other hand, there appeared an ever-growing social group of private entrepreneurs who had a constant need to exchange their contact information. These pragmatic people started to print out their own cheaper business cards to give them at presentations, exhibitions, conferences etc.


In the modern business card design, with its developed professional conventions, one can still detect the two conflicting approaches, the fanciful and the functional one. The purpose of the first approach is to show that there is nothing impossible for the card's owner. The more striking by its design and materials and the more sophisticated in its manufacturing technology, the card will be the better. What matters is the card's uniqueness. The content of the card does not matter much either.


The other approach, on the contrary, emphasizes functionality. It is the one that rules in the pragmatic West. And the English name of the item - "business card"- also focuses on its specific functionality. These cards are essential for those company workers that interact with clients. That is why, on the one hand, you can see a small clerk, a service engineer or even a heaver with his own business card and a head of the department without such if he or she does not interact with clients.

另一个方面恰恰相反,强调功能性。注重实效的西方崇尚这一点。此外,名片的英文名-"business card"-也强调了它具体的功能性。这些名片对那些与客户有联系、在公司里工作的职员来说很关键。这就是为什么,一方面,你会看到一个小小的职员、一个维修工程师乃至一个搬运工都有他自己的名片,而另一方面,部门头头如果他/她不和客户打交道的话却没有名片。

Business cards used to be made exclusively of stiff paper (card), but today come in materials from plastics to thin metals and even glass! A name or business card reflects the owner - it should represent visually the company or the person passing it. Take the time to have a closer look at your own cards and decide if they really suit you and your company.