Introduction Etiquette 

Man to Woman or Woman to Man? Does it really matter?

Introduction Etiquette is not just about correctly introducing someone according to sex and gender. It is also about introducing people to one another with similar interests.

It is one of the greatest things you can do to earn people’s respect and trust at social gatherings. It gives you a perfect opportunity to create a great impression on the people you have just met. 

Why does it have such a positive impact?

It shows you have taken an interest in what people have said and made an effort to make their evening more enjoyable by introducing them to someone with similar interests.

Basic Introduction Etiquette rules

  • Formal and informal social introductions should be done by gender, starting with the oldest woman in the group and when you introduce her, you should say her full name first.
  • Always introduce men to women.
  • Always introduce young people to their elders.

So in practice this means that younger people, boys and men are introduced with their names stated second e.g. “Mrs Jones, I would like to introduce you to my nephew, Bill Dupont.”

Advanced Introduction Etiquette rules

  • If everyone is of the same gender and of a similar age then always introduce the person you know best first i.e. “John, this is Betty’s cousin Mable”.
  • Use information to clarify who they are in the context of the occasion when making the introduction i.e. Betty’s cousin.
  • Use full names if you can, but if one person is more authoritative then use only their full name and title.
  • With self introduction give your full name and some information as to who you are within the context of the social gathering.
  • Individuals should be introduced to the group first i.e. John, I’d like you to meet Steve and Andy. Everyone, this is John.
  • Married couples should be introduced individually and not as Bill and Sue Smith.
  • When meeting someone of the older generation always address them as Mr or Mrs. They will appreciate the respect and will probably ask you to call them by their first name, but always wait to be invited before you do so.
  • If you take guests along to a party it is your responsibility to introduce them to other people with whom they share a common interest. This then frees up your time to mingle with others.

Forgotten someone’s name?

Don’t worry – it happens to me on occasions. The worst thing to do is take a stab in the dark and call them the wrong name. Be honest and say “I am so sorry I seem to have forgotten your name, could you please tell me again?”.

Being courteous and polite normally diffuses the situation and then quickly move on, don’t make a big deal out of it.

A really good tip for remembering names is when you are introduced to someone, repeat their name when talking to them a few times, it seems to imprint it a bit more in your memory.

Another tip I learnt was to remember something about them e.g. Mike with the big nose, or Jill with the bright scarf. But be careful not to say it out loud!

You could also ask for their business card but be careful as you may be seen as a networker. Part of the art of conversation is showing that you have listened well; remembering people's names is an indication of your listening skills.

What if someone gets your name wrong?

If someone is getting your name wrong it is good introduction etiquette to correct them immediately to save them much more embarrassment at a later date. If they forget your name, help them out, they will be very grateful, and make them feel at ease.

Once you have initiated your introductions you will then need to call upon your Conversation Etiquette to continue your raport!


Other Social Etiquette Skills to learn on this site:

Cheek Kissing Traditions

Conversation Etiquette

Taboo Chat

Social Faux Pas

Gift Giving Etiquette 


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