Introduction Etiquette - Making Introductions

Simple Introduction etiquette, How to make introductions or introduce yourself. Examples of introductions also included here.

introduction etiquette
Used with permission

Learning the unspoken rules of introduction etiquette is a useful social skill. Knowing how to introduce yourself or how to introduce others puts you and others at social ease. A great introduction can be the start of a rewarding friendship. Making a good introduction leaves a favorable impression on others.

You are probably already practicing the right way to make introductions without knowing it. As these are general guidelines, don't worry about making small mistakes. Most people will overlook them or not even realize your blunder.

Introduction Etiquette General Guidelines

Introduce the 'less-important' to the 'more-important'.
What this means:
  • This means you bring the intern across the room to meet your boss.
  • Introduce men to women,
  • and younger to older.
  • Introduce the more familiar to the less familiar (between friends.)

Eye Contact and Deportment - Introduction Etiquette

Look at the person to whom you are making the introduction (the boss, for instance), then turn to the person you are presenting as you finish (the intern). Then back again at the boss.

If someone is being introduced to you (presented to you), smile and say, "It is very nice to meet you, Jane." while extending your hand for a handshake*. (*This applies to the appropriate greeting culture and introduction etiquette where it may be kisses or a bow.)

If you are being presented to someone senior, you also say, "Pleased to meet you." but wait for your the extended hand.

making introductions etiquette
Afghan President Hamid Karzai introduces his wife, Dr. Karzai, to Laura Bush outside the presidential residence in Kabul, Afghanistan, Wednesday, March 30, 2005

If introductions are made between a man and a woman, a woman usually extends her hand first but nowadays, this is not followed strictly.

If you are sitting, the proper introduction etiquette is to stand when a person is being introduced to you.

Women today either remain seated (not preferable in my opinion) or do a half stand from her seat at the table, because sometimes the chair is heavy and not easy to move back especially when a woman is dressed in gown. However, if you're sitting on the sofa or anywhere where is not an effort to stand up during the introduction, please do.

Handshakes - Handshaking Etiquette

In the past, a gentleman would never extend his hand unless a lady extended hers first. Now, the 'highest ranking' tend to extend their hand first.

I believe the right approach is to be flexible here. Have a feel and look around at what others are doing. If you're a woman, just go ahead and extend that hand. Of course, I don't think women in general would object to shaking the hand to the man who extended his hand first.

Read some of your comments

In a group, shake the woman's hand first (if you're a guy). And if you're a woman, shake the hand which is extended to you first.

Kissing, Air Kissing and Hugging - Greetings Etiquette

This depends on the culture and introduction etiquette of the country you're in.

Follow the greeting etiquette according to the culture of the country as much as possible. Do as the Romans do.

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Introduction Etiquette of Countries and Cultures

  • Asians (except the Japanese)- a gentle handshake.
  • In some ethnicities, a touch of the hand (like in a handshake) would suffice. Read more about Chinese etiquette.
  • Japanese prefer to make a quick bow. The more important the person, the lower the bow.

  • British - handshake or just a friendly smile.

  • Americans - a firm handshake

  • French - two kisses from the left cheek

  • Italians - handshake or hug and kisses for the women.

  • Spanish - hugs and kisses

  • Swiss - three kisses starting from the left cheek

  • Arabs - men only kiss men, and women only kiss women.

When in doubt, just let the person of the foreign culture lead. Be obliging. Of course if you are in dominantly in the company of one culture, follow. Don't be fussed if you're not used to getting kissed or hugged, even if you feel that this is your country. It is polite to grin and bear it!

Introduction Etiquette for Conversation

If you are hoping to introduce people for conversation you may add a point of interest in the introduction, or something that both have in common.

For example, "Jenny, this is my friend John I'll like you to meet. He is the other person I know of who loves gardening as much as you do!"

Or (after formal introduction) "James is the person to talk to if you are interested in film production."

More of this in the article Elegant Sophisticated Woman

Examples of Introduction Etiquette

introduction etiquette

Introducing People to Someone in Authority

"Mr. Trump, I would like you to meet the latest member of our marketing team, Bill Rancic. He has just graduated top of our apprenticeship program."

"Bill, this is our CEO, Mr. Trump."

Bill replies smiling, "It is pleasure meeting you, Mr Trump." but waits for Mr Trump to extend his hand.

Introducing Men to Women

"Suzie, I'd like you to meet John Wagner. He's a hiking enthusiast, and climbed Mount Meru last year. Didn't you say you wanted to go to East Africa too?"

"John, this is Suzie Milton, she takes the most interesting travel photographs."

Suzie says, "Pleased to meet you John." extending her hand and with bright eyes, proceeds to ask him about his trip to Tanzania.

Introducing Younger People to Older People

"Mum, I'd like you to meet my friend from church, Caroline." .

"Caroline, this is my mother. If you think my chicken pie is good, wait until you tried hers!"

Your mother is expected to extend her hand to your friend. If your mother doesn't, Caroline can just 'end' the introduction by saying, "Nice to meet you Mrs Adams, you have a lovely home and it is a great party." before scooting off with you.

Introducing a Single Person to a Group

If you are introducing a friend to a group of people, get everyone's attention first.

How to get everyone's attention: In a formal setting, stand next to the person to-be-introduced and wait for a while for everyone to turn their attention to you. In an informal setting, you can just greet everyone saying, "Hey everyone, this is my friend Joy!"

In a formal setting, you may call names in a group, "Mr Tan, James, Laura, I'd like you to meet Joy whom I met last week."

"Joy, this is Mr Tan, James, Laura."

Ideally, Joy should walk around extending her hand and say, "Nice to meet you Mr Tan." "Pleased to meet you James." "Laura, it's a pleasure to meet you."

Introducing Yourself

Sometimes, the hosts are too busy to introduce you. Or you may meet a group of people who assume you already know the new person so didn't think that introductions are unnecessary. Anyhow, you may simply have to introduce yourself if you're going to be talking to anyone in a party with unfamiliar faces. If you're a single woman - this is a great way to meet people.

Remember that if you forgot your introduction etiquette, a bright smile goes a long way.

"Hello, I'm Sharon. Nice to meet you." would suffice. You can begin with light hearted conversation... "What a lovely evening isn't it? It's so nice of Marisa to put all this together."
"Did you get a chance to try the blueberry cheesecake?"

Sometimes you may join in the conversation because you know somebody in there, if that person forgets to introduce you, you may wait for a pause in the conversation and introduce yourself. to the person you don't know. "Hello, I'm Suzy."

Chances are the person forgot you haven't met or has forgotten your name. Don't take offense, of course.

Do not begin asking, "So what do you do?" - Please also see the art of conversation and conversation blunders.

For more examples, please see these helpful websites of making introductions, introductions for when titles are used, and from a male's perspective.

Introduction Etiquette - When You Are Introduced

1. Smile

2. Repeat the name of the person you have been introduced to, "It is nice to meet you, Daniel (or Mr Tan)."

3. Extend your hand if you are a woman, or in the position of authority.

4. Prepare some conversation starters (if appropriate) or end the conversation politely (especially if the person is engaged in conversation with someone else.)

You should address anyone who has a position of authority or is older than you as Mr., Mrs., Dr., until they ask you to call them by their first names.

Etiquette for Nicknames, Pet names, Shortened Names

If you have been introduced to "Natasha", but everyone calls her "Sha" or "Tash" you should continually call her "Natasha" until she requests to be called by her shortened name.

That is because you are not at that level of friendship and familiarity as others. However, if she introduces herself as "Sha", you may call her "Sha" then.

Remembering, Pronouncing Names

If You can't remember a name: "I'm sorry, how do I address you again?" or "May I know your name again?"

If you can't pronounce a name: "I'm sorry, how do I pronounce your name?" or "Am I pronouncing your name correctly?"

If someone mispronounces your name: Correct it gently with a smile, and say, "Most people call me ___."

Whatever mistake you make, don't make a fuss. Smile and change the subject.

You Might Be Interested in

  1. Elegant Entertaining
  2. Types of Parties
  3. Elegant Self-Confidence
Thank you for reading 'Introduction Etiquette'!

Go back to Social Ease - Grace your way through parties.

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Introduction Etiquette, Making Introductions, How to introduce yourself


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