How to Introduce People

Businessman and businesswoman shaking hands at conference table
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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 you get to know people and put others at ease. Fortunately, knowing how to introduce people gets easier with practice.

Below are the steps in making introductions.

  1. First, determine who should be introduced to whom. The name of the older or higher ranking person should be said first.

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

  1. Unless you are in a casual setting, use first and last names, as well as titles such as "Dr." when appropriate. If the person whom you are introducing has a relationship to you, share this with others.

    For example:

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

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

  2. In a group setting such as at a party, 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.

  3. In general, when you are introduced to someone it is polite to say "How are you?" If it is someone whom you have been told about, you might make a comment along the lines of "So-and-so has told me so much about you."

    If someone has forgotten to introduce you, introduce yourself and explain 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 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.

    1. 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.

    Research on Introductions and Social Anxiety

    A 2012 study of 30 socially anxious and 30 low socially anxious individuals demonstrated that when a brief internet chat with a person preceded face-to-face interaction with that same person, social anxiety was reduced. The study  authors proposed that computer-medication communication (CMC) might be a useful form of safety behavior, in that the individual can disconfirm negative beliefs .

    What does this mean? That if you chat with someone a bit online before you actually meet them, you have a better chance of overcoming those negative thoughts that plague you when you first meet someone in person. Instead, you might think something like, "I remember having a good chat online, we seemed to have some things in common" and pick things up from there.

    A Word From Verywell

    If you find yourself with the task of making introductions or being introduced, try to remember the rules but don't get too caught up in them. Above all else, offer a warm smile and firm handshake. Be welcoming and open and the rest of your introduction should naturally fall into place; you might even find yourself at the start of a beautiful friendship.

    Sources:

    Markovitzky O, Anholt GE, Lipsitz JD. Haven’t We Met Somewhere Before? The Effects of a Brief Internet Introduction on Social anxiety in a subsequent face to face interaction. Behav Res Ther. 2012;50(5):359-365. doi:10.1016/j.brat.2012.02.002.

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