At some time, everyone makes introductions in the business world. Whether you introduce a client to another person in your organization or introduce colleagues at a social gathering, the time will come when you need to make introductions.
People do not feel comfortable in business or social gatherings unless proper introductions are made. Introductions create the relationships that allow business to be conducted. Moreover, it is a breach of etiquette to fail to introduce yourself or others since doing so puts people in an awkward situation.
Guidelines when introducing people.
Although introducing people causes anxiety for many people, it is not a difficult skill to learn. The most important guideline to follow when introducing people is to remember that business introductions are based on rank. The person of higher rank always receives the person of lower rank. In other words, the person of lower rank is introduced, or presented, first to the person of higher rank. Then, the introduction can be finished by introducing the person of higher rank to the person of lower rank. Gender and age do not affect this guideline.
For example, suppose you introduce a new employee named Nour Fakih to the vice president of marketing, whose name is Bassam Falah. To introduce them, you should say, ”Mr. Falah, may I introduce Nour Fakih. He came to us from ABC Corporation. Nour, meet Bassam Falah, our vice president of marketing.”
Your actual wording can vary. For example, you might say, ”May I present . . .,” ”This is . . .,” or ”I’d like to introduce . . ..” Be sure you always use each person’s full name and provide information about each individual so that when the introduction is complete, the new acquaintances will have something with which to begin a conversation.
In addition, you should use titles as appropriate in introductions. If an individual is your superior, address him or her as ”Mr.” or ”Ms.” If someone is the same rank as you, it is appropriate to use his or her first name. Professional titles, such as ”Dr.,” should also be used during introductions. Keep in mind that many titles, such as governor, senator, congressman, judge, and certain military ranks, are retained for life, whether or not the person still holds the position.
The ”rank” guideline does not cover all situations, so there are some additional guidelines you should follow to make proper introductions. A client is always the most important person in an introduction. Therefore, even your supervisors would be presented to the client. For example, you might say, ”Ms. Riene, this is Elie Salameh our sales department manager. Mr. Salameh, meet Riene Jaroudy from Technology Systems.”
If the individuals you introduce are of the same rank, introduce the one you do not know as well to the one you know better. The following guidelines can also help you when rank is not clear:
- Introduce a younger individual to an older individual.
- Introduce a party or convention attendee to a guest of honor.
- Introduce a layperson to an official.
What actions should I take when I am being introduced?
Just as there are guidelines to follow when you introduce people, there are certain actions you should take when you are being introduced. These actions include shaking hands, standing, smiling, making eye contact, and greeting the other person.
In any introduction, but especially in business, shaking hands communicates a message about you. Since you want that message to be positive, you need to know the protocol for shaking hands. Usually, handshakes last about three seconds and are finished by the time the introduction is over. It is also important to know that handshakes should always be the same, regardless of whether you are a woman or a man and whether you are meeting a woman or a man.
To perform a proper handshake, extend your right hand, grip the other person’s right hand firmly, pump the clasped hands once or twice, and unclasp the hands. The correct grip should not crush the other person’s hand, nor should your hand be limp. The correct grip also means that palms are perpendicular to the ground and hands meet at the web of the thumbs.
Another important part of an introduction is standing to show respect for the person you are meeting. If you do not stand, you may give the impression that you do not think the other person is important. Occasionally, you may be in a position in which it is awkward to stand, such as being seated behind a table. In this situation, you should lift yourself partially out of your seat as you shake hands and then sit back down.
Smiling and making eye contact also convey a positive message during introductions. A smile shows that you are friendly and pleased to meet the other individual. Making eye contact during an introduction shows confidence in yourself and shows the other person that you are giving him or her your complete attention.
In addition to shaking hands, standing, smiling, and making eye contact, you should greet the person to whom you are being introduced. The greeting you use can vary, but the most common greetings are ”Hello,” or ”How do you do?” Keep in mind that ”How do you do?” is not a question that needs to be answered. The proper response is ”How do you do?”
You should also consider using people’s names as you greet them. Doing so is flattering to them and helps you remember their names. When the other person is of the same rank as you, use his or her first name. However, if his or her rank is above yours, use the other person’s correct title.
You may want to use other variations when you greet people. For example, suppose you have heard positive information about the individual to whom you are being introduced. In this case, you may want to say, ”It’s so nice to meet you,” and then add, ”I’ve heard so much about you.”
What should I do if I incorrectly introduce someone or someone incorrectly introduces me?
Sooner or later, you will forget the name of a person or someone will forget your name. The key in these situations is not to make a big deal out of it. If you forget someone’s name as you introduce him or her, simply say, ”I’m sorry. I’ve momentarily forgotten your name.” Frequently, you can make a joke to relieve the tension. Remember that if you do not make a scene, no one else will, either. If a person does, the breach of etiquette is his or hers, not yours.
When someone forgets your name when introducing you, be helpful by immediately offering your name. Do not allow the person to fumble for your name and do not take the memory lapse personally. Remember, everyone forgets names, and some day, you may be the one who does so. The same consideration is in order when someone misstates your name, title, or company affiliation. Politely correct the information and then move on with the conversation.
When and how should I introduce myself?
When you meet someone new and no one else is present to make the introduction, you should introduce yourself. This situation frequently occurs at business meetings or social gatherings simply because the host cannot make introductions for all of the attendees at the same time.
If you have been invited to the event, you should feel free to introduce yourself to anyone present. You can simply offer your hand to a new person and say, ”I don’t believe we’ve met before. I’m Hady Saliba from Network Technologies.” When introducing yourself, it is best to leave off all titles. Stating that you are Dr. Hady Saliba may be perceived as arrogance or people may question your level of self-confidence.