Monday, September 8, 2008

Communication Etiquette: Magical Introductions

Sorry for the short hiatus. I had to cut my vacation short because I got sick and had to get home to my doctor. That must have been payback for rubbing it in that I was on vacation. Bad karma! Everything is fine now. I'm back, and ready to tackle our next topic: Introductions.

I think we've all been in a situation where someone has introduced us to another person and then suddenly disappeared. We just stand there looking at the other person and have no idea what to say. Where to start? I'll save that for a different post because first of all, the person that introduced us didn't do a very good job.

Introducing two people is an art. Usually you introduce people because you think that they have something in common, could help each other or would just be a good match for whatever reason. You usually want them to like each other. Part of your job as a gracious networker or host is to point out the fantastic similarities these two individuals share so that it's easy for them to start a conversation and "click."

For example, you know that your friend, Judy is an avid sky-diver and your other friend, Mike is preparing for his first tandem jump. They would probably have a lot to talk about! By introducing them and pointing out their similarities, you've ensured that they will have something to talk about. With time, they might have figured out on their own that they share a hobby, but you just saved them the awkwardness of the first encounter.

Here's how the conversation might go:
You: Hi, Mike! I'd like to introduce you to* my friend, Judy. She's the one I told you about that loves sky diving.
Mike: Oh, of course. Nice to meet you.
You (to Judy): Mike is getting ready for his first tandem jump.
Judy: Oh, really? That's great! Nice to meet you too, Mike. So when's your first jump?
Mike: Next week. I'm really looking forward to it...

See how easy that was? Now Mike and Judy can start talking like old friends and you've saved them the awkward silence that comes when two people try to start a conversation.

You know that you've failed to introduce two people correctly if your friend says to you long after they met another one of your friends, "Why didn't you tell me that so-and-so... " You should have known that your friend would have been interested to hear about a shared hobby or interest.

*I am aware that in Standard English the correct form would be "introduce to you." Unfortunately, very few people realize this and it has become widely accepted to use the reverse "introduce you to." In this specific, informal situation I personally feel that "introduce you to" is more acceptable. I'll have to expand on this topic in a future post.

No comments:

Post a Comment