Introducing People

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.