Making the introduction

Even my two year old daughter says “Welcome to meet you” when she meets someone new. All of my efforts to correct her “Welcome” to “Nice” have failed. Give it time, she will get it.

Introductions can vary by culture. While living in Japan I witnesses the business card exchange ritual many times. This involves a system of introductions starting from the senior individual(s) down. Business cards are passed out in that order as well and are accepted with two hands…and actually looked at in order to learn a person’s name (which is repeated once viewing the card). Americans have no such system. In fact business cards are usually pocketed without a glance.

So how should one do an introduction? I think we can learn something from our friends overseas.

First, the “senior” individual should be introduced first. By the way “senior” has nothing to do with age, but rather position. If you struggle to make this distinction then introduce the person joining the group last.

Second, allow the newly acquainted people to have a brief exchange. After this it is the person doing the introductions role to move the conversation forward. You might do this by telling a little about how you know each contact (again starting with the “senior” individual). This should include why you arranged the introduction in the first place.

Your role is not quite finished even after the first meeting.  I usually recommend contacting each person after the introduction to do a few things.  Thank each person for taking the time out of their schedule.  Ask if the new contact a good one to make?  This is also a good time to ask for an introduction in return.  Perhaps the contact knows someone you have been looking forward to meeting.

While I am not a huge fan of formalities I do think having a system for making quality introductions is important.  It shows thoughtfulness.

Until next time, GoGrabLunch with someone new.

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Posted on November 29, 2010, in Networking and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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