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October 27, 2010
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The Contemporary Protocol on Introductions

One of the most common business needs is one that many stumble over and even fear — making introductions.

I’m talking about face-to-face introductions between you, colleagues, clients, and superiors.  We often find ourselves in a situation where introductions are in order: at meetings, in networking situations, in restaurants where we bumped into people we know with clients or associates, in the parking lot, the supermarket, in the elevator.  The list can go on forever.

While it may seem simple on the surface, very few people, including high-level executives, know how to make a correct introduction.  It is an important business tool and skill to have.  This lack of understanding always surprises me as introductions set the tone for the future of a budding business relationship. Done well, an introduction can serve to reassure a prospective partner or client that they are dealing with a seasoned professional.  But if it’s botched, an awkward or incorrect introduction might be brand damaging both for you personally and the company professionally.

By following Protocol International’s Do’s and Don’ts of Introduction, you’ll put yourself in a good light and those you’re introducing at ease.  Below is our list of Six ‘Do Tips for Introductions.  (Contact us for the Don’t Tips.  We really love hearing from you.)   Even better, let us complete the thought in our interactive workshop the “Art and Science of Networking” for your organization.  It includes introductions, pre-planning, strategy, follow-up, body language and so much more.

As the saying goes, “You never get a second chance to make a great first impression.” Knowing that your first impression is a correct one will go a long way towards boosting your professional image and your self-confidence.

Protocol International’s Top Six Introductions DO’s:

  1. Always introduce yourself, whether it’s a chance meeting for a few seconds or a business dinner lasting several hours. When you introduce yourself first you establish control of the meeting or encounter, demonstrate initiative and an ability to be direct – all pluses in a business situation.
  2. Always state your name and something about yourself. For example you might say, “Good morning Mr. Doe, I’m Harry Smith from Atlas Motors.”
  3. If you fail to introduce yourself to a newcomer, or fail to introduce those whom you know but who don’t know each other, you demonstrate a lack of leadership.
  4. Always introduce from the bottom up. That is the “lesser authority” is always introduced to the “higher authority” by saying the higher authority’s name first. For example, a junior executive should be introduced to a senior executive. Similarly, a company executive should be introduced to a client. Clients and customers are always considered more important than someone in your firm, even if the client has a lower rank than your colleague. Example: “Ms. Higher Authority, I would like to introduce Mr. Lesser Authority from our legal department. Ms. Higher Authority is the Vice President of Human Resources.”
  5. Always highlight the company or position of the individuals you are introducing and, if appropriate, include pertinent information about each. For example you might say: “Mark Stevens, I’d like to introduce John Doe, he’s the senior vice president at ABC Cell Phones, and the person to call if you need anything related to cellular phones. John, Mark is president of Stevens Associates, the best P.R. firm in the country for promoting products.” A descriptive introduction eliminates the inevitable silence that often follows as unfamiliar individuals try to guess what the other does or whether they have anything in common. By providing the information you put each individual at ease and establish an opening for conversation.
  6. Always stand for introductions. This goes for both men and women and for both business and social occasions. No exceptions.
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One Comment leave one →
  1. Marcella Stokes permalink
    October 28, 2010 8:36 AM

    Thank you, this is great information!

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