The correct protocol for effective introductions

Dress codes 1-sqThe art of meeting and greeting people is one of the most important ways you can leave lasting impressions and demonstrate your professionalism. Mastering this art will help to put you and the people you are introducing at ease.

This article will explain the differences between social and business introductions.  It also discusses  why it is important to make an introduction. This article will explain the correct order of a business  introduction and the status of the persons being introduced while providing  a number of examples of how to make an introduction

Failure to introduce

When someone fails to introduce you this leaves you feeling uncomfortable and not important. It is better to make the introduction wrongly than to leave someone standing unacknowledged.

A good introduction leaves a lasting impression; it makes you look like a polished professional. First impressions are vital and can make the difference between a successful or unsuccessful business deal.

The differences between social and business introductions

In social introductions age and gender are the determining factors of the introduction. A man would be introduced to a woman and if it is two people of the same gender being introduced the younger person would be introduced to the older person.

In business introductions, people of lesser authority are introduced to people of greater authority. The client, guest or visitor outranks the boss or co-worker.

Business introductions
  • A peer in your company would be introduced to a peer in another company
  • A junior executive is introduced to a senior executive
  • An unofficial person is introduced to an official person
  • In the UK a UK citizen is introduced to a peer from another country
The order of the introduction

An important point in any introduction is the order of names.

  • The name of the person to whom the introduction is made is mentioned first.
  • Identify the most important person in the introduction and always say their name first.
  • The name of the person being introduced to someone is mentioned last. That is the person with the least status in the business situation.
  • Always explain who the people are when you introduce them
  • Keep the names equal. If you say first name and surname for one person you say it for the other. If you say the title for one person and the surname say it for the other.
Status of the person being introduced

In the example below, the sales rep is introduced to the managing director. The most important person’s name is always mentioned first.

“Mrs Brown, I would like to introduce Mrs. Smith who is the new sales rep. Mrs Smith this is Mrs Brown our managing director.”

If I said “Mrs Brown, I would like to introduce you to Mrs. Smith who is the new sales rep. Mrs Smith this is Mrs Brown our managing director”,  the introduction would be the wrong way around. I have introduced the managing director to the sales rep.

The following are examples of correct introductions.

“John, I would like to introduce my colleague Sarah Hepburn who works in the printing department. Sarah, this is John Richmond a client of the company who has used our services for the past 20 years.”

“Geoff I’d like to introduce Maureen Green and Simon Hains, they are on a placement with the company from Newcastle College. Maurine and Simon this is Geoff Anderson the founder of our company.”

One sure way to improve your ability to make an effective introduction is to practice. I suggest you do some role play with a friend or colleague which will help you to become familiar with the different protocols for each type of introduction.

For more information visit my website at www.etiquetteandmanners.co.uk . The courses are also certified for continued professional development (CPD) if required.

Ellen Russell
About the author

Ellen is our Business & Social Etiquette Blogger. You can reach Ellen on: Etiquette and Manners, Facebook, Linked In

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