The Four Rules to Mastering Introductions

Mary Williams Blog

The Four Rules to Mastering Introductions

During a lunch meeting with an incredible woman who happens to be a concierge cardiologist, she was sharing her experiences mentoring two engineering students from her college alma mater.  We were discussing our thoughts on the rewards of mentoring and how best to inspire and communicate with millennials and generation Z.  I added how much I enjoy the presentation I do each year at the Mike Ilitch School of Business at Wayne State University in Detroit.  Meeting with the students in the Corporate Mentorship Program invigorates me and fills me up with so much gratitude and purpose. As we were wrapping our lunch, my friend asked if I could remind her of the correct etiquette when making introductions, which inspired me to write this post.

Introductions go beyond the basic acknowledgement of another’s presence or putting a name to a face. Introductions are important because they create first impressions and we all know you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression. Most importantly, introductions put people at ease in a polite, friendly and considerate manner and this is what etiquette is all about. They can help to advance and build lasting professional relationships or quickly diminish them.

There are four age categories for introductions: children, teens, adults and senior citizens.  Then, there are four basic rules to follow:

  • When two people are in the same age and same sex category, it does not matter whose name is spoken first.
  • A girl or a women’s name is always introduced first when introducing a male and a female.
  • When introducing an older person to a younger person, the older person’s name is always spoken first.
  • When introducing a VIP to anyone, the name of the VIP is always spoken first.

Here are some real time examples that may help you in business and in life:

  • When introducing doctors, judges, government officials and officers in the armed forces, the title of the person is used when they are introduced or addressed.
  • For all of you parents out there, children should always stand when being introduced.
  • If you are hosting a meeting or a party, as the host you always rise to greet guests and you also shake hands with each one.

How should you respond when introduced?  “How are you?” is always a great start. It’s also best to add the person’s name too. This could look like, “I am very happy to meet you Mr. Smith.”  Repeating the name acknowledges that you were listening and repeating it helps you commit the person’s name to your memory.  When you leave the person or the conversation say, “I enjoyed meeting you.” I recommend repeating the person’s name again.  Remembering names is an important part of successful relationship management.

The most important thing to remember in all of this is simply to make introductions.  Be comfortable and confident when doing it.  You want to be sincere and authentic; it’s more important to make an introduction than it is to get hung up on the order of it. People enjoy meeting people, and you want them to feel at ease during introductions, so don’t rush or look away.  Make eye contact, and remember, the handshake is the all-American greeting. Use a firm grip, but not a crushing one. And know that you are making a positive impression, which is a great thing to do in business and life! If you wish to learn more about modern etiquette and how it can positively impact your life, your career and your business, I would love to hear from you.

Looking for more tips on mastering the first impression? I’ll be presenting at Athleta’s first woman’s networking event in Tampa and would love to see you there! Find more info here!

Comment below or connect with me on LinkedIn if this helped you in understanding introductions!

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Mary Williams

Mary is a business etiquette and protocol expert for executives and rising stars who want to unleash their best self and achieve their goals. A veteran of the C-Suite, Mary is a passionate advocate for utilizing the best skills in business etiquette and protocol to ensure meaningful actions for success in business and life. After more than a dozen years in her role as chief of staff, Mary launched her own dream business, Mary Williams, Your First Impression Authority. As a graduate of The American School of Protocol and a certified Business Coach, in addition to working at the highest levels of national and international organizations, Mary understands both the demands and the complexities of maneuvering effectively through business and life.   She is a regular presenter at university business schools, nonprofit organizations, trade association conferences, as well as corporate events. Her mission is to share all she has learned along the way, and in doing so provide effective business coaching to ultimately help people reach their true potential, utilizing distinct techniques and simple steps that guarantee success.

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