Lessons in Etiquette

Q) When I have to introduce someone to someone else, I’m never sure how to make the right kind of introduction.  How should I do this?

A) First of all, a good rule of thumb to follow is to say the name of the person with the highest business or social ranking, or the oldest person, first.  That way, you are introducing the lesser important person to them.  For example, Jim Collins (company President), this is Alexis Graham (younger cousin).
Older age takes precedence, then social and business rankings are priorities.  For instance, your college friend would be introduced to the President of a company.  Or, your girlfriend would be introduced to your grandmother.   But, even though your grandmother does not “out rank” the President of a company, he would be introduced to her as she is the older of the two, and her name would be spoken first.
When introducing people to each other, it is best to do so using their first and last names.  Also, keep the introductions consistent.  If you feel more comfortable introducing one of the people by calling them “Mr.,” then do the same for the other person: “Mr. Smith, this is Ms. Jones.”  Also, if someone has a title, such as Doctor, include their title in the introductions.
If the person you are introducing has a relationship to you, make that clear by adding a phrase such as, “this is my boss,” or “this is my cousin.”  If your spouse has a different last name than yours, then introduce them including their last name.  Also, use the phrase “my wife” or “my husband.”   For unmarried couples who are living together, “companion” and “partner” are good choices.
In a group setting, introduce an individual to the group first, then the group to the individual. For example, “Dr. Johnson, I’d like you to meet my friends Bill Shapiro, Mike McKay and Alexis Peabody. Everyone, this is Dr. Kurt Johnson.”
For informal introductions, use the phrase, “this is.”  When more formal introductions are appropriate and warranted, such as for dignitaries, use the phrase, “may I present.”
Finally, when you are making introductions, say something about the people whom you are introducing so they may begin a conversation.  Then, you may leave them graciously to make other introductions.  Good luck!

Follow Carolyn Davenport at AGraciousYou.com.