Formal and Informal Introductions

 Formal and informal introductions always come down to simply "speaking to the person you wish to honor first" but, breaking into any kind of conversation to make an introduction is impolite and shows bad manners. It is definitely preferable to postpone the introduction until it is more convenient.

 We must not forget that Introducing people is an art and a protocol. Protocol as in good manners and art as in introducing people effectively without creating any discomfort. Starting a conversation can be difficult, but interesting conversations start when people feel comfortable talking to each other.

550x401City of Montreal Winter Scene - Photo RLB

Who Has The Greater Rank?

  • Your customers should be introduced to your employees.
  • Your senior colleague takes precedence over your junior colleague.
  • Your boss is usually of greater rank or authority than your colleague, partner, or friend.
  • Out of courtesy and respect, great age takes precedence over most rank or authority.
  • Introduce your junior friend to your senior friend.
  • In certain occasions, the person you have known the longest should be named first.
  • Your 70 year old grand-mother is of greater seniority than your brand new boyfriend.
  • For social introductions, men are usually introduced to women, as a sign of respect but this rule does not apply in a business context where women hold senior positions.
550x413City of Montreal Winter Scene - Photo RLB

Formal Introductions

May I present ... I'd like to introduce ... Have you met ...

 Name the person of greater rank or authority first. Use their first and last names and include any title they may have. If your spouse has a different last name from yours, clarify this.

 It is correct to include relevant details as you introduce people to one another. Details such as the relationship you have with the person you are introducing and introductions such as May I present Mr or Mrs ... He or she is our lawyer ... plus, it is correct to answer with a nice to meet you or with a simple hello.

550x735City of Montreal Winter Scene - Photo RLB

 Titles such as Sir or Madam are always proper during a conversation with an adult man or woman.

 Titles that include Mr + last name for any man, Mrs + last name for a married woman, Ms + last name for a married or unmarried woman, Miss + last name for a young  woman, Dr + last name for some, Dr + first name for others.

Informal Introductions

 For less formal occasions such as a backyard barbecue, the host or the hostess can introduce his or her guests by their first name since first names are common in informal gatherings.

 For a group introduction, the newcomer is introduced to each member of the association or company unless it is a small, informal group where a general introduction would be adequate. However, it is not disruptive or time-consuming to name each member of the group while you have their attention.

550x745City of Montreal Winter Scene - Photo RLB

 When the group is larger and more formal, introduce the newcomer to the whole group first, then take the newcomer to each person and introduce him or her by name: "Caroline, this is Peter, my boss ..., , Bob, this is Mary, my associate ...

Continue working your way around the group in the same manner and try to help initiate their conversation by saying something like "I believe you both share an interest in ..."

Variations in Introducing People

 On a positive and interesting note, there may be cultural, regional and societal differences while introducing someone or while being introduced. Introductions are somewhat similar but, there are differences between business and social introductions and between formal and informal situations.

 On a negative note. introductions with words such as "should" or "must" are too often perceived as bossy, impolite and pushy. Avoid saying things like you must meet, you should get to know one another, you must have lots to talk about. You don't know that and, more importantly, you could be wrong so, simply stick with the facts.

550x767City of Montreal Winter Scene - Photo RLB

 What is always useful is to know the rank of authority of the person you are introducing and, what is always helpful is mentioning a few common grounds between the two parties.

 However, it is always awkward to say something like this is or please shake hands with when introducing a new person. Finally, forcing someone to meet someone else when they already made it clear that they are not interested is definitely rude and impolite.

Montreal Kits
Formal and Informal Introductions

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