Business Etiquette / Cross Cultural Differences / Inter-Generations / Managing People


In 2016, @ETIQhour will concentrate on the top 15 Business Etiquette Essentials every future leader will want to know. Each fortnight a new Essential has been released:

Essential #1: When in doubt, introduce others.

The purpose of introducing people is to give them an opportunity to know each other. Beyond just stating names of the two parties, the person making the introduction is often obligated to establish an acquaintance and help the two parties initiate a conversation.

  • It’s important that each person knows everyone else at your event/meeting.
  • Be the person to introduce people to others whenever the opportunity arises.
  • Introducing people makes them feel valued, regardless of their status or position.
  • State the name of the person being introduced to. This is the ‘higher-ranking’ person.
  • Say “I would like to introduce” or, “please meet” or, “this is,” etc.
  • State the name of the person being introduced. This is the ‘lower-ranking’ person.
  • Offer some details about each, as appropriate. A possible conversation starter about either ‘party’
  • Stand up when you’re being introduced, it helps to establish your presence.
  • Use the appropriate names and title/company if you know it. When in Business, do in business.
  • Practice, Practice, Practice people’s names, pronunciation, companies, titles and conversation starters, if you need to.
  • Whenever introducing dignitaries and other notable people, use “present” instead of “this is” or “introduce.” It is the style most often used in diplomatic and international arenas

The foremost principle of etiquette for making introductions lies in understanding reverence and respect. Here are some guidelines.

When introducing people of equal seniority or status, you may introduce either person to the other.

Making Introductions: A Few Examples

  • Introduce a younger person to an older person. “Uncle Col, please meet Kristy and Andrew, my neighbors.”
  • Introduce a relatively junior professional to a senior professional. “Ms. Director, I would like to introduce Mr. Shige, the Chief Product Architect who heads up our our IT department.”
  • Introduce an employee to a customer. “Mr. Sung, I would like to introduce our plastics engineering team. This is Kate Smith, Justine Amos and Xinyi Jon. All three participated in last week’s conference call on xx topic.”
  • Introduce a host to a guest. “Bill, I don’t think you have met my daughter, Anna. Anna arranged for all the food at this festival party. Anna, Bill is my Project Director.”
  • Introduce a local guest to a guest from out-of-town. “Kerrie, this is Millie. Millie is my colleague from work. Millie, Kerry is visiting me from Singapore. We shared an apartment when we worked in Singapore together.”
  • Introduce a peer from your company to a peer from another organization. “Julie, I would like you to meet Steve, our GM of Operations. Steve, Julie Coleman heads up out our Sales & Marketing Team. She is our Account Manager for xx Account.”

Many people have difficulty introducing people to one another and helping initiate a conversation. With some practice and a sense of social and/or professional ranking, you too can master the art of introduction.