t You

  How To
Effortless In


by Jacqueline Farrington

   ONE OF THE MOST WORTHWHILE BUSINESS SKILLS you can achieve is making proper, clear, effortless introductions. Introducing yourself and others with polish and self-assurance not only improves your professional image, it also paves the way for new contacts and potential clients. It is a talent which clearly demonstrates that you are relaxed and confident. Considerate, attentive introductions help to put others at ease. When they are at ease, they will remember you in a positive manner.

First Things First: Introducing Yourself:

   When you introduce yourself, speak with proper volume and clear articulation. If you are entering a small group of people, wait for a break in the discussion before your introduction. You do not want to give the appearance of blasting into the conversation. If you are in a crowded room, slow down your speech, project your voice and thoroughly pronounce every sound in your name. Give pertinent professional information such as job title and where you are from:

"Hello, I�m John Nichols, Vice-President of Marketing with ABC Company."

   In the United States, stand approximately arm�s length from the person you are meeting. A handshake and eye contact in introductions are essential in American business, but it is good practice to allow the individual who has more rank or authority to initiate the handshake (clients or potential clients should always be the initiators). Your handshake needs to be firm, but not a vice-grip. Allow the web of your thumbs to meet and try to match the hand pressure the other person gives you. Shake a couple of times (3-4 seconds) and end the handshake before the introduction has been completed. If you are seated, remember to stand as the introduction takes place so that the handshake occurs on an even plane. If you are wearing a name tag, place it below your right shoulder so that it is in the person�s field of vision as you shake hands. If you are holding a drink, hold it in your left hand during introductions so that you do not give a cold, wet handshake. Clammy palm sufferers need to use a napkin or a judicious swipe on trousers or skirt. Cold hands? Use the insides of pockets to warm them or discreetly rub your palms together before introductions.
   Always give the gift of your name, even if you think the person remembers you from a previous meeting. Offering a handshake and simple self-introduction, "Hello, Jane Delaney, good to see you" saves someone the potential humiliation of forgetting your name.

Introducing Others

   A hundred years ago, a man was always introduced or presented to a woman: �Ms. Nichols, may I introduce Mr. Adams.� However, in today�s business environment, rank, position and seniority dictate introductions. Always introduce or �present� the lower-ranking person to the higher ranking person: �Madame President, I�d like to introduce Mr. Vice-President. CEO allow me to introduce Manager. Client, I�d like you to meet consultant. 25 year Employee, may I introduce 2 week Employee?� Clients are always of higher importance. If you are introducing two people of equal rank, introduce the one you know least to the one you know best. Always use first and last name as well as professional titles. Give a very brief description of each person�s role or job in the company or field. Look for ways to create common ground between people � offer connections and common points of interest: �Jane is also an avid golfer.� If you are introducing two people you know, try to stay in the conversation for a few minutes before you move on. Help them to begin a conversation first, then politely excuse yourself.
   We meet and greet new people every day. How we meet people, the initial impression we make in the first 60 seconds, is crucial. A blunder in introducing ourselves or others can start us down the wrong path of business relationships and can be difficult to recover. Creating rapport with people means making them feel comfortable, at ease. The more at ease and confident you can become in meeting and greeting, the more comfortable you will make people feel. You will create a positive impression of yourself and your business.

Tips To Remember:

   Clearly Articulate Names. If you are not sure of the correct pronunciation, ask. Speak with adequate volume and make eye contact with people as you conduct the introduction.

   Lead With Rank Or Seniority. �Mr. Higher Rank I�d like to introduce Mr. Lower Rank. Clients are most important, so introduce your boss to your client. Allow the higher ranking person to initiate a handshake.

   Give Succinct, Pertinent Information. This includes title, name, role or job in company. Never assume you can go on a first name basis. Wait until the person gives you permission to use their first name.

   If You Are Seated, Always Stand When Being Introduced.

   Your Handshake Needs To Be Firm But Not Overpowering. Try to match the other person�s pressure. Hold the handshake for about 2-3 seconds.