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How to Make a Proper Introduction

Here are a few tips on how to make a good introduction.



Often an introduction leads to a new friendship or business alliance… and sometimes the whole process can be awkward. Here are a few tips on how to make a proper introduction: 

The Basics
When meeting someone for the first time, stand up, smile, make eye contact, express a greeting, and shake hands. To make the person feel welcome, and to help you remember his or her name, try repeating the person’s name during your greeting. For example, “It's nice to meet you, Rachel.”

Who Introduces Whom?
A proper introduction can set you apart from your peers.

Remember this rule: Talk to the most important person first

When executing an introduction, address the most important individual first and introduce the other person to the most important individual. Offer snippets of information about each person and use proper titles such as Mr. and Ms. in formal settings. For example, if your client’s name is Neil Page and you want to introduce him to your colleague, Del Griffith, the conversation would go as follows:

Turn toward Neil and say, “Mr. Page, I’d like to introduce you my colleague, Mr. Griffith, who specializes in energy efficiency solutions for the hospitality industry.” Then turn toward Del and say, “Mr. Griffith, please meet Mr. Page of Page and Associates.”

Suppose you are meeting with a prospect and the CEO of your company walks into the room. Whom do you introduce first? The answer is easy according to Judith Bowman, author of Don't Take the Last Donut: New Rules of Business Etiquette. The prospect is more important than the CEO and should be addressed first because, without clients’ business, there would be no company and no CEO.

Above all, the etiquette rules behind introductions are meant to make people feel comfortable and ease conversation. The next time you find yourself making introductions, decide for yourself whether a formal or a more relaxed social introduction is appropriate given the context.

Forgotten Names
If you’ve forgotten someone’s name, don’t panic or avoid the introduction. Introduce the person whose name you know first and hope the person with the forgotten name picks up on situation and introduces herself. Otherwise, quickly apologize and admit that you’ve suddenly forgotten the person’s name. This happens to everyone occasionally and most people are understanding.

The Handshake
Handshakes are appropriate, not only during introductions, but also when you welcome people into your office, run into a colleague outside of work, and when you say goodbye. It used to be considered polite for a man to wait for a woman to extend her hand before offering his own. According to Peggy Post, author of The Etiquette Advantage in Business, this is an old-fashioned custom. In modern business settings, everyone should shake hands with everyone without hesitating to evaluate who should extend a hand first.  

The Online Introduction
As you grow your business through social media, you may find yourself in the position of wanting to meet someone in your social media network. LinkedIn is a great tool for facilitating professional introductions. The LinkedIn “Introductions” feature on their mobile app lets you contact members in your extended network through the people you know. If you want to contact someone more than one degree away from you, you can request an introduction through one of your connections. Your connection will then decide whether to forward your message on to the desired recipient. When you request an introduction, you’ll be prompted to write a note to your mutual connection and then a separate note to the person you want to meet. In both cases, draft a compelling subject line and a short note that introduces you and explains why you hope to connect. Just remember never to ask directly for a job – it’s neither polite nor appropriate.

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Mark Jewell

Mark Jewell

Mark Jewell is the President and co-founder of Selling Energy. He is a subject matter expert, coach, speaker and best-selling author focused on overcoming barriers to implementing projects. Mark teaches other professionals and organizations how to turbocharge their sales success.


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