Business Introductions: Who You Know

Business IntroductionsSuc­cess often boils down to who you know instead of what you know. In busi­ness, who you know are the con­tacts you make dur­ing your career and these con­tacts can be made in var­i­ous ways. Whether it is at an inter­view, a busi­ness meet­ing, a net­work­ing func­tion or even the super­mar­ket check­out lane, the intro­duc­tion cre­ates a last­ing impres­sion with the con­tact that can help open doors for you.

Proper busi­ness eti­quette for an intro­duc­tion is made up of four fun­da­men­tal skills.

  • Stand­ing Up
  • Smil­ing
  • Eye con­tact
  • Firm Hand­shake

When meet­ing some­one it is impor­tant to stand up. Ris­ing from the con­fer­ence table, your desk or the table at the restau­rant shows that you respect the other per­son and puts you on equal foot­ing for the begin­ning of your relationship.

Remem­ber that the intro­duc­tion is the first impres­sion the other per­son has of you, so you should always be smil­ing. Smil­ing presents a pos­i­tive image and atti­tude and fail­ing to smile can lead the other per­son to think you are unin­ter­ested in them.

Eye con­tact is another key com­po­nent of the intro­duc­tion. By mak­ing eye con­tact, you are focused on the other per­son and show them that you are interested.

A firm hand­shake is essen­tial to a pos­i­tive intro­duc­tion. It shows you are pro­fes­sional and con­fi­dent. To per­form a proper hand­shake, you should fit your hand into theirs to where the web­bing between your thumb and fore­fin­ger meet. Squeeze firmly and shake once or twice. If you have clammy hands, it is ok to sneak in a quick wipe to dry your hand before the hand­shake no one likes shak­ing a moist hand. You do not want your hand­shake to be too firm, demon­strates over­con­fi­dence, or too weak, demon­strates nervousness.

It is proper busi­ness eti­quette to make your own intro­duc­tions if no one is intro­duc­ing you.  Do not be overly aggres­sive or too shy.  A good rule of thumb is to approach the per­son or group, hold out your hand, say hello and give your name, com­pany and title. This addi­tional infor­ma­tion will help break the ice and help jump­ start the conversation.

After being intro­duced, con­tinue to use the person’s title (Mr., Dr., Pro­fes­sor, etc.) until that per­son says oth­er­wise. Most peo­ple strug­gle with remem­ber­ing names, so by remem­ber­ing it, you are show­ing that per­son how impor­tant they are. Use what­ever mem­ory trick works for you to remem­ber the person’s name and then, if nec­es­sary, write it down after­wards. If you do for­get a name, it is ok to ask them to repeat it, but be apolo­getic and make a bet­ter attempt to remem­ber it the next time.

When you are mak­ing the intro­duc­tions, busi­ness eti­quette says

  • The most pow­er­ful per­son should be introduced first
  • Fol­low that with your clients, high level exec­u­tives, or spe­cial guests
  • Always use the person’s title when introducing them

Fol­low­ing these steps will help all of your intro­duc­tions turn out pos­i­tively and as your busi­ness rolodex grows with con­tacts so will the oppor­tu­ni­ties for you to move up the cor­po­rate lad­der or land your dream job. Remem­ber “ it’s all about who you know.

Jules Hirst is a sought after speaker and a rec­og­nized eti­quette coach.  She con­ducts lec­tures, work­shops, sem­i­nars and webi­na­rs in busi­ness, social & wed­ding eti­quette.  Jules co-author Power of Civil­ity where she shares strate­gies and tools for build­ing an excep­tional pro­fes­sional image.