You - like me - may be a little nervous when you are introduced to new people at big networking events. Sometimes my nervousness may even lead me to stutter over my own words or make any number of embarrassing gaffes. Most introduction mistakes are the result of normal-and forgivable-memory lapses or nervousness. But the foul-ups below result primarily from insensitivity and tactlessness.
Words to the wise - don’t do the following:
1) Look Away. People who look over shoulders and around the room while involved in introductions are saying in every way that they don’t really care very much. Always best to look people in the eye when you are introduced to show them you are excited to meet them.
2) Make too-personal comments. Divorces, bereavements, job losses, illnesses and the like are not fit subjects to raise in the course of business introductions. I always ask about family, not spouse to avoid any awkward divorce conversations.
3) Interrupt. When people are engaged in serious conversation or obviously occupied, don’t break in to introduce someone else. Wait for a more convenient moment when there is an obvious break in the conversation.
4) Defer to one person at the expense of the other. Be sure that both parties are included in any conversation that follows a polite introduction. So don't spend all your time on only one party - be egalitarian in your conversation.
5) Gush. Most people are embarrassed by overly enthusiastic introductions. Avoid exaggerated praise when you introduce them. Extreme flattery is a sign of insincerity.
So what introduction goofs do you think folks should avoid? Let us know in the comments!
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M.E.L. is an attorney and small business entrepreneur whose mission is to help professionals conquer the workaday world with style and poise.
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