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How to Make Better Introductions and Remember Names (Part 1)

Making Introductions is hard. Remembering names is even harder. In this two-part series, The Public Speaker shares 5 secrets for making a proper introduction and remembering the names of people you meet. 

By
Lisa B. Marshall
December 20, 2013
Episode #231

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Introduction Rule #3: Make Sure Your Introduction is Heard

Speak clearly and slowly. An introduction is useless if the people being introduced can’t hear you or don’t understand your words. If you’re in a noisy room, raise your voice to make sure you’re heard. Make sure you have both people’s attention before you start. Emphasize the names by saying them more slowly and clealy, and repeat them if needed.

Make eye contact with each person. When you say “Janice, I’d like you to meet my mentor Laureen Remington,” look at Janice. When you switch to “Laureen, this is my business partner Janice Bloom,” shift to look at Laureen.

Introduction Rule #4: Use Titles and Last Names in the Right Situations

Did you notice that in the last example, I used last names as well as first names?  It’s good to use titles in more formal situations or when there’s a significant age difference. For example, when I introduce my daughter to an adult, I always refer to the adult as Mr., Mrs., or Miss They can correct me if they want my child to refer to them less formally.

However, my first example was a professional situation. So why did I include the last names? Because social media is so prevalent. I may never have met you in person, but I might have seen your comments on a blog. If we’re introduced a person by first name only, I won’t make the connection. But if I hear your first and last name I can say “Oh yes, I have enjoyed your blog posts. I feel like I already know you.” Or “I think our mutual friend Eric introduced us on LinkedIn.”

Finally, if a person has a well-known social media moniker, you may want to include that as well. For example, "Connie, I’d like for you to meet Mignon Fogarty. You may know her as Grammar Girl.”

Introduction Rule #5: Share Relevant Information 

Finally, when you introduce two people, you should include a little information about each one. Your goal is to create rapport between your two acquaintances. Don’t just stop with their names, but don’t elaborate too much either. Your goal is to provide a tidbit of information to help launch their conversation. 

If you elaborate too, much you’re making yourself an important part of the conversation and you’ll miss your goal of connection. But if you don’t provide any information that connects the two [people, they may end up standing there in awkward silence, which misses the point of making everyone comfortable.

It’s best to share how you know each of the people, why you’re introducing them, or some area of common ground. For example:

"Sriya Tillman, this is my neighbor Alex Rogers. Alex is the writer I was telling you I wanted you to meet. Sriya writes for a local entertainment magazine."

If you’re in a business setting, always include job responsibilities and possibly mention projects they’ve worked on or recent achievements.

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I hope these tips help you feel more prepared to make introductions. Once you make it a habit to always introduce people, it will get a lot easier. In Part 2 of this series, we’ll tackle the challenge of remembering names. If you’re one of those people who forgets a person’s name just seconds after you’ve met them, you won’t want to miss it!

This is Lisa B. Marshall, Helping you maximize sales, manage perceptions, and enhance leadership through keynotes, workshops, books, and online courses. Passionate about communication; your success is my business.

Do you struggle with difficult conversations?  Do you procrastinate when it comes to delivering feedback? Do you know how to effectively persuade and influence others?  Learn this and more in my book Smart Talk. Get your personally signed copy today!

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