The way you respond to someone else’s introduction
is just as important as making the introduction.
most important point about introductions is to make them. Failing to do so
causes embarrassment and discomfort. If given a choice, most people would
prefer you to make the introduction incorrectly, even if you forgot their
name, rather than stand there unacknowledged and disregarded.
A second important point in any introduction is the order of names. The
name of the person being introduced is mentioned last, and the person to
whom the introduction is made is mentioned first. The rules for who is
introduced to whom depends on whether it’s a business or a social
Business Introductions: In business, introductions are based on
power and hierarchy. Simply, persons of lesser authority are introduced to
persons of greater authority. Gender plays no role in business
etiquette; nor does it affect order of introductions.
For example, you would say, “Mr. /Ms. Greater Authority, I would like to
introduce Mr./Ms. Lesser Authority.’’ However, the person holding the
highest rank may not be Mr./Ms. Greater Authority. A client, for
instance, always takes precedence over anyone in your organisation.
Social Introduction: Social etiquette is based on chivalry,
so both formal and informal introductions are made according to age, then
gender, and then social status. The man would be introduced to the woman
in a social situation unless the man is obviously a great deal older, in
which case one would defer to age over gender. For example, if both
persons are of the same generation, you would say, “Mrs. Pathak, I’d like
to introduce Mr. Khan.?But, if the woman is considerably younger, you
would say, “Mr. Raj, this is my daughter Shana.?br>
“As you make the introduction, include a brief but meaningful piece of
information about each of the people to explain their uniqueness or
importance.?/i> Samita is the PR consultant who helped me get all that
coverage in the national press. Bobby is the photographer whose work you
admired in my office, Samita. “Never qualify a description by saying “my
best client?or “my dearest friend?because the automatic implication is
that the other person holds a lower position in your personal hierarchy.
When in doubt, be less personal rather than more personal.
The Nuances: As you say each of the individuals?names, look at
him or her. In this way, you focus attention on them and make them
feel important while appearing to be in control. Once a conversation has
begun and everyone seems at ease, you may excuse yourself.
When introducing relatives to other people, always clarify their
relationship to you; it avoids any possible faux pas that could result
from inadvertent comments. Never refer to your own spouse as Mr. or
Mrs. in a social introduction. Simply saying “Mathew, my husband,?or
“Kitty, my wife?is sufficient. However, if the woman has kept her maiden
name, she should include the husband’s surname with some emphasis on it.
Introducing Yourself: If no one introduces you, step in and
introduce yourself. Someone may be too embarrassed to admit forgetting
a name or may be distracted by other matters.
Feeling slighted because you were not
introduced only puts you at a disadvantage. Introduce yourself by
extending your hand, smiling and saying something like, “I’m Smita,
Sachin’s partner.?Avoid making any comment such as “Sangeeta works for
me?that might be misconstrued as arrogance or superiority. Instead, say,
“Sangeeta and I work in the same office.?br>
As a guest, it’s your duty to circulate and introduce yourself at any
function, large or small, especially if the host or hostess is busy.
The fact that you are both there is sufficient justification to introduce
yourself to anyone at the gathering. By only sticking to those people you
already know, you’ll never expand your horizons or make new acquaintances.
Always use both names when introducing yourself to convey the massage
that you take yourself seriously as an adult and expect the same treatment
from others. And, since you don’t know how comfortable the other
person feels with formality or lack of it, you give that person the chance
to set the tone most comfortable to them.
At any business meet, always introduce yourself to the people sitting next
to you to open the way for conversation. Not introducing yourself can cost
you a valuable business lead because few people want to deal with someone
who comes across as aloof or unsavvy.
Responding to Introductions: The way you respond to someone else’s
introduction is just as important as making the introduction. In response
to informal introductions, simply say “hello? Add a phrase like, “I’ve
heard so much about you, Bhavesh,?only if it is true and if it is
complimentary. Beware of phrases like, “Pleased to meet you?because that
may not be true after only a few minutes of conversation.
“How do you do??followed by the person’s name is the customary response
to a formal introduction. Refrain from the use of first names until the
person to whom you’ve been introduced has indicated that the familiarity
Remembering Names: If you forget someone’s name when making an
introduction, try putting the other people at ease rather then
concentrating on your own embarrassment.
Remain calm; if you fall apart, the person whose name you forget may feel
obliged to put you at ease, compounding your faux pas. Be straightforward
yet tactful in admitting your memory lapse.
By saying, “I’ve forgotten your name,?you
imply the person wasn’t worth remembering. ?I’ve just drawn a blank,?or
“my memory seems to be malfunctioning?connotes a more temporary condition
that doesn’t have the same insulting implications. If you can’t
remember someone’s name, but you remember an interesting point about them,
cite it. You might say, “I clearly remember our conversation about Thai
food, but your name seems to have temporarily slipped my mind. Please help
Then, whatever happens, get off the subject of the memory lapse and onto
something more interesting to everyone. Profuse apologies only make
everyone uncomfortable. The sooner you forget about it, the sooner
everyone else will?and the happier everyone will be.
When you’re introduced to someone, say the person’s name, then repeat it
several times during the conversation. Not only do you project a genuine
interest in someone by repeating their name, but the repetition is more
likely to imprint the name on your memory. When someone seems to have
forgotten your name, just jump in, hand outstretched, a smile on your
face, and offer your name.
Introducing a Guest Speaker: Prior to the event, have the
speaker supply background information and ask how he or she prefers to be
introduced. Keep the introduction short but enthusiastic, giving the
speaker’s name, credibility on the subject and the title of the
presentation. Then ask the audience to join you in welcoming the
speaker and begin the applause. Don’t alienate the audience by informing
them that they’ll learn something. And, don’t undermine the speaker by
talking so much about the topic yourself that you give part of the
Now that you have a better understanding of meeting and greeting people,
Beaverbrook’s admonition, “Be fearless and each day you must meet
Your responsibility as a guest and host!
First, a guest is punctual and does not pay surprise visits. Guests
also do not make themselves more comfortable in someone else’s office than
the host. And they don’t ever take someone else’s space by spreading
papers all over the person’s desk. And, they don’t place a handbag or
briefcase on it. Guests also do not overstay their welcome. When
your scheduled time is up, don’t assume the host’s schedule is so flexible
it can accommodate you for another hour. Reschedule if you need more
time. Believe me, if the host is really interested in what you’re
selling and has the time to hear more, he or she will let you know.
The host’s responsibility is to greet the guest and to make the visitor
feel comfortable. If you’re busy, have your secretary go out to reception
to bring the visitor to your office. Then, get up and come around from the
desk to shake hands with the person. Indicate where you would like the
person to sit. The host leads the visitor. When the meeting is
over, the host is responsible for bringing the meeting to a close,
summarising what was covered and what action is to be taken. Then the
host escorts the visitor to the elevator or out of the office. Never
leave visitors to find their own way. Not only is it rude, it
... to be continued ?Radhika Warriar (NEE REGE)