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How to Introduce People

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Updated July 07, 2012

Knowing how to introduce people in business and social settings is an important social skill that you should not overlook. Why are introductions important? They help others get to know each other and put guests at ease. Fortunately, knowing how to introduce people gets easier with practice. Below are the steps in making introductions.

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: 5 Minutes

Here's How:

  1. The first step in making introductions is to determine who should be introduced to whom. The basic rule is that the name of the older or higher ranking person should be said first.

    When all other things are equal, the name of the person that you know better should be said first. In a business situation, the client is always considered higher ranking. Finally, at a party, guests should always be introduced to the guest of honor.

  2. Unless you are in an informal setting, introductions should be made using first and last names, as well as titles such as "Dr." when appropriate. If the person that you are introducing has a clear relationship to you, this should be made clear.

    How does this look in practice? Below are some examples:

    "Edith Smith, I'd like you to meet Natalie Jones" (Edith is older than Natalie)

    "Mr. President, I'd like to introduce my husband Paul Brown"

  3. In a group setting such as a party, you should introduce a person to the group first. For example, "David, these are my friends Steve, John, Elizabeth and Natasha. Everyone, this is David."

    Introductions like this should be made for a group of up to six people. If there are more than six people present, only make introductions to those that are nearby or those that the person will be sitting with. You should never lead someone around a room making introductions.

  4. In general, when you are introduced to someone it is polite to say "how are you?". If it is someone that you have been told about, you might make a comment along the lines of "Jeff has told me so much about you".

    If someone has forgotten to introduce you, there is nothing wrong with introducing yourself and explaining how you know the host if you are at a party.

Tips:

  1. If you have forgotten someone's name, it is more polite and less awkward to simply acknowledge the fact than to avoid an introduction.

  2. If you are being introduced to a group of people, you do not need to say something after each introduction. It is fine to just nod after the first introduction to avoid repeating yourself.

  3. Formal etiquette rules dictate that men should stand when being introduced to women, and women should stand when being introduced to older women. However, it is best to judge the situation and the actions of those around you when deciding whether to stand up.

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