Introducing yourself and others to key contacts is essential for building business relationships and networking effectively. However there are pitfalls that many professionals can avoid when making introductions.
Here’s a look at 6 introduction mistakes to avoid. This information comes straight from our program How To Be A Polite Professional
- Looking away: Looking away when you are being introduced to someone gives off the impression that you are disinterested and don’t care about who you are meeting. Always maintain eye contact when being introduced.
- Making overly personal comments: When introducing someone to a group you should give a piece of information about them. Avoid alluding to divorce, job loss, illness or any sensitive topic. Instead stick to their job title, where they work or what field they’re in. You can even indicate how you met them.
- Interrupting: Don’t break in to a conversation or simply force yourself into one. Wait until you are introduced to the group or brought in to the conversation.
- Deferring to one person: Avoid speaking only to one person and ignoring the others in the group. This behaviour is especially prevalent in groups of 3, and makes the person being ignored feel awkward. Make sure you engage with everyone in your group and at least make eye contact and acknowledge people you are not immediately speaking to.
- Overly enthusiastic introductions: It’s always nice to highlight something positive about the person you are introducing but keep it within reason. Don’t introduce colleagues or clients with superfluous introductions as these tend to embarrass people. Avoid using phrases such as “the smartest person at our firm” “the greatest” “ the most accomplished” “ the most amazing” etc. These come off as unprofessional and a little immature.
- Making someone wait to be introduced: Introduce any newcomers to the group immediately, making people wait causes them to feel left out, embarrassed and awkward.
Praveeni Perera is the CEO and co-founder of Professional Edge Consulting a corporate training company based in Ottawa offering training and coaching services to clients around the world. She can be reached via Website, Twitter, Facebook or her Blog.