Etiquette: Making an Introduction

Tonight I had the pleasure of speaking to a group of great ladies.  The organization was mostly comprised of women in their 70s and 80s.  Many had been involved in the group for sixty years, and had joined because their mothers were members (it was founded in the 1860s).  I could have visited with these women all night.  There is a priceless education in spending time with the generations that came before us.  The one thing that stood out to me more than anything was how they introduced each other.  I remember learning this in cotillion many years ago, but I don't think I've ever practiced it -- the art of a proper introduction.

Each time I was introduced to a member of the group, the hostess would look directly at me and say, "Nici, please meet Betty Guthery."  She'd always use her first name and last name while looking at me so I could hear the person's name. Then she'd introduce me in the same manner.  It occurred to me that in my generation, it's rare anyone makes an introduction using a full name.  Our greetings are usually something more like, "Hey. I'm Emily."  Not that the casualness is bad, but the formality of looking directly at someone while learning their full name just makes you feel so much more important and connected.

So, the basics of making an introduction are:

  • Look directly at a person, when saying another person's name (Example: Look at Jake when you say, "Jake, please meet Maggie Smith."
  • Use first and last names
  • Try to find a commonality or say something interesting about each person that will generate the conversation (Example: "Jake, please meet Maggie Smith.  Maggie grew up in Dallas not far from where you live now.")