Making a Good First Impression

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There’s a certain awkwardness about introductions, especially in the business arena. The protocol around a proper introduction includes saying (and remembering) names. That’s not always easy to do. Below are a few tips to help you improve your meeting and greeting skills.

1. INTRODUCING YOURSELF

Be ready to introduce yourself with a firm, dry hand (don’t hold a cold beverage in your right hand before extending a handshake.) Give your full name and title. Look them in the eye. Speak slowly. We often rush through introductions, when it’s much better to take your time and truly “see” the other person.

2. INTRODUCING OTHERS

The big thing to remember here is to say the person’s name who ranks higher in authority before any other names. “Mr. VIP, please meet (name of lower ranked person). Always keep in mind that a client is more important than your boss! Provide a little detail about the person you are introducing (job, city where they live, reason for being at the meeting if that’s appropriate).

3. REMEMBERING NAMES

Everyone forgets names. The best way I’ve found to remember names during introductions is to repeat their name, or ask them to spell it (if it’s something more difficult than “Sam”), or immediately associate their name with someone you know and imagine that person standing next to them. Mastering these tactics gets easier with time, forethought and practice.

Keep in mind that most people struggle with introductions and remembering names. But I’m confident anyone can master good introduction etiquette if they truly want to improve their business skills.

Suzanne Willis is the founder of Willis Consulting & Communications in Naples, which specializes in contemporary business, social and children’s etiquette.

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