INTRODUCING PEOPLE: MEETING & GREETING — POSTMODERN ETIQUETTE
I’m concerned that I’m not introducing people properly. What is the proper way to introduce someone? How do you know who to introduce first? Who to shake hands with first when you’re in a mixed gender social or business situation?
My work colleague and I disagree on introducing etiquette and we’d like to have your advice.
In postmodern etiquette, I'm of the opinion that a woman is always introduced first. She stretches out her arm and hand for the first handshake.
When there is more than one woman,
I would shake the hand of
the closest woman to me first.
In a situation where there
is an elderly person,
I would shake her or his hand first.
The exception socially would be if there was an elderly person or a known elected, appointed, or ordained official, such as a pope, senator, mayor, or rabbi. Although not a doctor or soccer coach. But in a formal situation, perhaps, a principal, headmaster, or the president of the New York Stock Exchange would be introduced first -- regardless of gender.
- A transgender person would be identified by his or her first name, and if that's not clear because she or he is introduced as Brook, Alex, Alexis, Jackie, Jamie, Kelly, Lee, or Leslie, Morgan, Pat, Robin, Taylor, etc., the combination of their hair style, makeup, and clothing might possibly give you a clue.
- So those who identify female would take the lead in introducing and shaking hands first.
- In an all women or all men situation, the person who knows the person introduces their friend or colleague, even if s/he may know him/her by reputation only.
- INTRODUCE YOURSELF: When the person you're with forgets to introduce you, step forward and say your name along with a tidbit of information to connect you and perhaps get the conversation going. "Josh Goodrich, George and I work together at GL&C."
Example: Make it clear when you will be my child's teacher and I am to call you Mrs. Spencer, and not Mary. By labeling yourself as Mrs, saying, "I'm Mrs. Spencer, I'll be your son's teacher next year." Then I know to teach Georgie that he has to call his teacher "Mrs. Spencer."
Introducing is key to networking.
Etiquette in business is
more important than you can imagine.
Whether at work or play when introducing someone it is polite to identify your relationship as "my friend Amy," or "my office mate, Josh," or "work husband, Jeff."
- In work situations, labels can be tricky. Is the person you're with your boss, your underling, your coworker? Best to label him or her as your "colleague"; "We work together," "We're on the same team at ..." "We used to both work at ..." "We met at Stamford."
- In social situations, labels can be much dicer. Apparently, it's never "cool" to give a romantic unmarried relationship a label. Hopefully, at some point, after you've moved in together, you have the "What are we conversation," about how to label your relationship to make it less confusing for new, as well as old, acquaintances. Even if the relationship isn't "traditional" -- we all know that everyone does intimacy differently. Sometimes the pace is confusing, sometimes you just know. But give us a clue: "I want you to meet my girlfriend, Amy Scott." "Eric and I live together and he's the father of my two kids."
Social faux pas:
"It's nice to meet you!"
- If you're meeting someone for the first time, how do you know that it is nice to meet them? You don't, unless ...
- If your friend had previously told you how nice the guy is, then you can say, "Jake says you're a great guy (a hard worker, a super good tennis player)."
My point is this: try to be more creative -- even if you say, "Great tie," or "Beautiful scarf "... That's more original than saying "nice to meet you."
Meeting and greeting
struts your style
and sets the tone,
for better or for worse.
At the end of a meeting or double date, you can say, "Nice meeting you," or "It was great getting to know you."
Recently when I was introduced to a married couple the husband was introduced to me first, along with the nature of the connection that he and his wife shared with the person who was introducing us.
I made a horrible faux pas.
The husband stuck out his hand to shake mine, but I shifted toward his wife and shook her hand first, before shaking his. Was it a faux pas? In my mind, I knew to shake the hand of the wife first. What do you think?