Don’t leave people hanging: The importance of introductions

introductionsA friend of mine, I’ll call her Sue, was having a conversation with a couple she met at a party when a colleague walked up and interrupted her discussion. Her colleague Bill didn’t acknowledge the people she was talking to and spoke only to her ignoring the others. It made the people Sue was talking to feel unimportant and left out. She didn’t know what to do because Mr. Interrupter was focused solely on her and was dominating the conversation.

Unfortunately, this happens all the time. Not introducing yourself or other people is rude and it is uncomfortable for the ignored parties. Making introductions is an important aspect of social and business interactions. It shows respect to the people around you.

While Bill was being very inconsiderate, what could Sue have done? She should have interrupted Bill and said, “It’s great to see you Bill. Have you met Miranda and Doug Smith? Miranda and Doug, this is Bill Jones. Bill, we were just talking about the Seattle International Film Festival. Have you been to any of the films?” While Sue would have had to interrupt Bill, it would have been acceptable in this instance because she would be showing respect to the Smiths by making introductions. And, by sharing what she was talking about with the Smiths she would include Bill in the conversation.

Mr. Clueless, on the other hand, could have prevented all of this awkwardness by greeting Sue and then quickly introducing himself to the Smiths. And, if neither Bill nor Sue made introductions, the Smiths could have said, “Nice talking to you Sue” and walked away; which would have been acceptable given the situation.

Typically the onus for making introductions is on the person who knows both parties, even if you just met one of the parties. So, if you’re talking to someone and another person comes up to you, quickly greet that person and then introduce her to the first person you were talking to right away. Don’t turn your attention to the newcomer and ignore the other person. And to make the introduction even better, share what you were talking about or how you know both parties. This will help make conversation easier for the newly introduced.

When you introduce other people it shows confidence and respect, and makes people feel included and important. A win win for everyone.

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