Pleased to meet you, hope you guessed my name
Introducing people to one another doesn't need to be awkward. Rather, it's a simple, friendly gesture that anyone can master. While in the past there were formal dictates regarding status, gender, age, and so forth, that's no longer the case in most instances. We'll show you how to introduce people politely and gracefully, without ever missing a step--even if you forget someone's name.
Always keep common sense in mind when making introductions, and don't make a big deal of it if you make a mistake. The really essential thing you need is respect for people. If that's sincere, any mistakes you make will be easily forgiven.
The best thing to keep in mind when making introductions is to be equally gracious with everyone.
If the occasion is formal, being gracious means addressing and introducing people by their titles. This would include functions where elected officials or royalty are being introduced. It could also include business functions. If you're at a casual gathering, first names can be the basis for introduction. Use last names if you think the parties being introduced will benefit from this, or if differences in age or status could make them feel uncomfortable addressing one another by first names only.
Graciousness also means making sure no one feels like a stranger in a new situation. This means that if you're talking to someone and someone you know walks up, you introduce them. If you're hosting a party, make sure the guests meet one another (if you're too busy to do this yourself, assign a "hospitality stand-in" to do it for you).
If someone new comes to a meeting or party and doesn't seem to know anyone, walk up and introduce yourself. Sometimes this is the most daring and gracious thing to do. The new person in the room will certainly appreciate it.
Make The Introductions
The words you use to introduce people can be elaborate or simple, according to the situation and the flow of conversation. "John, I'd like you to meet Edward," or "John, this is Edward."
For every introduction there's an equal and opposite re-introduction. Which means after introducing Edward to John, you introduce John to Edward. It can go like this: "John, this is Edward. Edward, John."
Make sure you make eye contact with each party as you speak to them. This will keep the introductions smooth and will show you respect both parties. Remember, you're acting as the person in command of this situation, and both people being introduced will naturally want equal attention.
For a special spin, you can add a little information about each person. This will help them to identify one another better, and give them an opening for conversation. Pointing out something the two people have in common usually works. For example, "John, this is Edward. Edward knows our mutual friend Nancy."
In the case of introducing someone to a family member or spouse, it's just good manners to identify their relation to you. "John, this is my husband Edward."
Get Around Forgetting A Name
Most of the awkwardness in introducing people occurs when the person making the introductions forgets someone's name. But there are several ways to get around this gracefully. In fact, not introducing people is much ruder.
One way to handle the situation is to ask the mystery person to clarify his or her name. "Please repeat your name, so I'm sure to get it right. Edward Rice? John Stone, this is Edward Rice. Edward, this is John." This way, you can show that you care about a person's name, without admitting that you forgot it.
You can also get through this situation by addressing the person whose name you've forgotten and introducing the person whose name you do know. For example, turn to the mystery person and introduce your friend by saying, "This is my friend John." This usually smoothed the way for the mystery person to give his or her own name.
If you're the one being introduced, both a physical and a verbal response are called for. Extend your hand for a handshake and say something simple, such as, "Hello," or "It's nice to meet you."
In some circles, kissing on the cheeks is accepted practice. Before attempting this on your own, see if the other party begins the action. Then kiss accordingly, either an actual kiss or a kind of kissing noise or gesture near the cheek. Go slowly, though not lingeringly, to see if the other person is accustomed to kissing on both cheeks. If they do so, follow their lead and kiss the other cheek. This same strategy is useful in the case of hugging.
If you happen to be sitting down when a new person enters the room and is introduced to you, stand up as a form of greeting. This is always the proper thing to do if you are sitting, regardless of gender.
Once introductions and responses have been made, you've done your duty as a polite person. You can be certain that everyone is grateful you took charge and helped them meet someone new.
If you're in a more formal situation where status is important, introduce the less important person to the more important person, naming the more important person first.
If a spouse has a different last name, use the last name in the introduction, and identify your relationship. However, if you both share the same last name, there's no need to mention it.
In terms of etiquette regarding gender, most rules have been eliminated in the business world as a sign of respect for women's equality with men. The same is true in most social settings.
When traveling, always research the rules of etiquette for another culture before accidentally breaching them.