How to introduce others: The do’s & don’ts of formally introducing a speaker or a guest, plus how to introduce or connect two people.

PRINTABLE SHOWNOTES: https://www.talkabouttalk.com/podcasts/#shownotes

 

CONTENTS

  • 1-page Summary
  • Resources & Contact Info
  • Episode Transcript

SUMMARY

INTRODUCING a GUEST TO A GROUP – THE 3 T’s:

TOPIC

  • Introduce the subject matter or content and highlight its significance.

TALENT

  • Share the relevant talents of the person you’re recommending – their expertise, credentials, accomplishments

TONE

  • Establish an enthusiastic and positive tone. Ensure that the guest feels welcome and appreciated.

introducing a speaker or a guest

DO’s and DON’Ts for INTRODUCING TWO PEOPLE

 

  • DON’T forget titles and last names if the introduction is formal, professional, or public.
  • DO introduce a lower ranking person to a higher-ranking person. DO say the higher-ranking person’s name first.
  • DO provide relevant context that will encourage them to start talking.
  • DON’T hog the conversation. Stand back and let them talk.
  • If it’s online: DO ask both parties first. Send a quick email. “There’s someone I’d really like you to meet.  Do you mind if I send you both an email so you can get connected?”
  • It it’s IRL, DO stand up. Get out of your chair, even if they say it isn’t necessary.  This goes for whether you are making the introduction or if you are being introduced. 

 

Making Introductions – Your 5 Step Script

 

  1. Say the name of the ‘higher-ranking’ person 

(the boss, the eldest, the client or customer, the guest… )

  1. Say “I would like to introduce” or, “please meet” or, “this is,” etc.
  2. Say the name of the ‘lower-ranking’ person.

(the subordinate, the younger, the employee or service provider, the host… )

  1. Provide context

At work, context could be titles and responsibilities. 

It could also include how you know each of them, what they have in common

  1. Stand back and let them talk! Get out of the way. Your job is done!

 


RESOURCES

Dr. Andrea Wojnicki & Talk About Talk

 

introducing people - talk about talk (Image: Unsplash @ krispaparo)

Image: Unsplash @ krispaparo


TRANSCRIPT

Greetings and welcome to Talk About Talk episode number 87, focusing on INTRODUCTIONS.  I’ve got something for you.

 

How’s that for an introduction?

 

Welcome to episode #87, the second of two back-to-back episodes on INTRODUCTIONS.

 

I suppose I should introduce myself. I’m your communication coach, Dr. Andrea Wojnicki (please call me Andrea!). I’m so delighted you’re here!

 

Whether you’re an ambitious executive, or perhaps you have a growth mindset. Or perhaps both?  If this sounds like you, then, well, you’re in the right place.  At Talk About Talk, we focus on communication-skills-topics like confidence and imposter syndrome, body language, and personal branding. This is the important stuff they don’t teach you in school. It’s also the stuff that becomes increasingly important as you advance in your career.  And if you check out the TalkAboutTalk.com website, you’ll find online corporate training, 1-on-1 coaching with me, online courses, the archive of this bi-weekly podcast, and the free weekly communication-skills newsletter. I really hope you’ll go to the website and sign up for the free weekly communication skills training newsletter. But you can choose what works for you!

 

As I said, in this episode, we’re focusing on INTRODUCTIONS!  Introductions are key.  Introductions, by definition,  create first impressions.  We know that  It’s almost cliché.

 

And this goes for whether you’re introducing yourself, or perhaps you’re formally introducing someone to a group, or perhaps you’re introducing two people to each other – you’re connecting people.

introducing a guest speaker - talk about talk (Image: Unsplash @ krispaparo)

Image: Unsplash @ krispaparo

An effective introduction can help you immensely.  An ineffective introduction can leave a lasting, negative impression.  The good news is that this skill – INTRODUCTIONS – can certainly be learned.  That’s why we’re here!

 

If you haven’t listened to the previous episode, #86 yet, I hope you will.  In that episode, we focused on how to introduce yourself. We covered the three-point framework on how to introduce yourself. There’s: Present, Past and future. And then we also covered the four tips to keep in mind. Enthusiasm. Context. Precision. And your personal brand. (Yes, my favourite topic.  By the way, this is all relevant to our personal brands, isn’t it?)

 

In this episode, #87, right now, you’re going to learn how to introduce someone else (for example, if you’re introducing someone to a group, or if someone’s making a keynote presentation and you’re introducing them to the audience), AND you’ll ALSO learn how to introduce two people elegantly and effectively to each other.  (You know, when you’re introducing two people online or perhaps at a cocktail party or a dinner party.) For all of these contexts, I’m going to provide you with do’s and don’ts. And I’m going to help you a little bit with scripting. You’ll be a pro at INTRODUCTIONS after these two episodes – I promise!

 

HOW TO INTRODUCE SOMEONE TO A GROUP,

 

OK, the first scenario is introducing someone to a group. They could be a guest, or they could be giving a speech or a presentation to an audience.

 

I need to backup before I go any further.  I might admit that I sincerely hope my ability to introduce people has improved significantly over the years. I have a nightmare memory of formally introducing a guest speaker to a large audience in a hotel conference room. This was in the early 1990s. I was an undergrad student, studying for my Bachelor of Commerce, degree. I was 20 or 21 years old. I was really putting myself out there, and I offered to introduce one of the speakers at this conference.  The conference attendees included a combination of university students as well as local businesspeople, so it was really quite a privilege to make the introduction of this gentleman who was an early pioneer in the area of Environmentalism, and particularly sustainability. In retrospect, I realize now I had very little understanding about his topic. Let’s just say. My formal introduction of him was a complete disaster.

 

Fast forward a few decades. Where now amongst other things, I host a podcast. I’m introducing people to my audience, to my TalkAboutTalk audience all the time. Every time I interview a guest expert for one of the TalkAboutTalk podcast episodes, I have to introduce them to you.

 

So I’ve created a sort of a framework that I keep in mind every time I introduce someone. It’s a very simple framework. It’s called the three Ts.

 

The three Ts are topic talents and tone. So, the next time you need to introduce someone. Regardless of how formal it is, again it could be in a meeting, or it could be for a keynote presentation at a major conference, no matter the context. Remind yourself of topic, talents, and tone.

  1. The first T is TOPIC. Introduce the topic, the subject matter or content that’s probably the reason why the person you’re introducing is there. Clarify the topic and highlight its significance.  (BTW, This is what I failed at when I was a young undergrad student at that conference, I was just telling you about.  I didn’t understand the TOPIC.)
  2. The 2nd T is TALENTS. That’s plural.  This is where you share the relevant talents of the person you’re recommending.  Their expertise, credentials, accomplishments.  This is where you can pump them up. Which leads me to the last T.
  3. The third T is TONE. You want to establish an enthusiastic and positive tone in general for the audience but also you want to ensure that the guest feels especially welcome and appreciated.

 

OK, you got that?  The 3 T’s of introducing someone to a group. It’s topic,  talents. And tone. The next time you’re asked to introduce someone to a group, just think: 3Ts: Topic, Talents, and Tone.

 

Now let’s move on to the second scenario: how to introduce two people to each other. In other words, how to connect people.

 

HOW TO INTRODUCE TWO PEOPLE

First, consider that INTRODUCING two people can be an honour!  If you do it right, you can help people expand their network, you can help them establish a positive first impression, and you can even make a positive impression yourself!

 

In fact, you can think of introducing people to each other as offering a kind of a currency within your network. My friend, Sharon Mah-gin is a successful executive recruiter.  As you might imagine, her network is extensive.  And she’s constantly thinking about how to provide value or to be generous to people in her network. She  advocates starting with an offer, or offering value, as opposed to starting with the ask.  How can you offer value when you’re networking? It could be sharing

  • industry insights
  • a relevant article, video, or course
  • career advice
  • moral support OR, you guessed it,
  • an INTRODUCTION to someone! 

 

I can think of plenty of times when I was introduced to someone through a mutual acquaintance.  And how much I appreciate that connection. Introductions are certainly a valuable currency.

 

So like my friend Sharon, I encourage you to introduce people, to connect people within your network.

 

But there are some important DOs and DONTs to keep in mind:

 

If it’s online:

DO ask both parties first.  Just check in with a quick email, something like “do you mind if I introduce you to someone” or “There’s someone I’d really like you to meet.  Do you mind if I send you both an email so you can get connected?” Of course, this is just common courtesy.  Most people will say “sure!”

 

It it’s IRL, say at a dinner party,

stand up, out of your chair, even if they say it isn’t necessary.  We’re supposed to get off our butts more often anyways, right? Just do it. And BTW, his goes for whether you are making the introduction or if you are being introduced. Don’t wonder whether you should get up.  Just get up.  Got it?

 

Then, regardless of whether its online or IRL:

  • DON’T forget titles and last names if the introduction is formal, professional, or public. (First name only is fine for casual or personal introductions.)
  • DO introduce a lower ranking person to a higher-ranking person.  (I’ll get into that in a minute!)
  • DO provide relevant context that will encourage them to start talking.
  • and then DON’T hog the conversation once you’ve provided names and context. Get out of the way, whether its online or IRL, stand back and let them talk.

 

Got it?

 

OK, now I’m going to get a little more prescriptive. Let me start with

 

5 STEPS IN YOUR SCRIPT for Making Introductions

  1. Say the name of the ‘higher-ranking’ person (the boss, the eldest… )
  2. Say “I would like to introduce” or, “please meet” or, “this is,” etc.
  3. Say the name of the ‘lower-ranking’ person.
  4. Provide context.  At work, context could be titles and responsibilities.  Whether it is professional or personal, the context could also include: 
  • how you know each of them
  • where they are from
  • what they have in common
  1. Stand back and let them talk! Get out of the way. Your job is done!

 

So the 5 steps again are

  1. Say the name of the ‘higher-ranking’ person (
  2. Say “I would like to introduce” or, “please meet” or, “this is,” etc.
  3. Say the name of the ‘lower-ranking’ person.
  4. Provide context
  5. Get out of the way.

 

WAIT -“Higher ranking?”  Did you catch that?  Say the name of the higher-ranking person.  Then “I would like to introduce” or “Please meet” then say the name of  the lower ranking person.

 

YES. We’re ranking people here.

 

Honestly, I didn’t know about this rule until I was reading up on etiquette and conventions,  But this makes sense and it also provides me with some confidence when I’m introducing people. I hope it’ll do the same for you. Let me tell you what I learned about  the

 

CONCEPT OF RANK – AS IN “RANKING PEOPLE” in the context of making introductions

Of course, many introductions are for equally ranked people.  But when their ranks are different, we should introduce the lower ranking person to the higher ranking person. The easiest way to remember this is to always say the higher ranked person’s name first. Got that?

“NAME(HIGH RANK), I would like to introduce NAME (LOW RANK)”

or 

“NAME(HIGH RANK), please meet NAME (LOW RANK)”

 

That’s the easy part.  The tough Q can be, who is “Higher Rank”?

  • an olderperson (vs. a younger person)
  • a more seniorperson (vs. a less senior person at an organization)
  • a paying customer(vs. an employee)
  • guest(vs. a host)

What about Gender?

  • Well, they say a womanis higher rank “out of respect.”
  • All I have to say is: BE CAREFUL!!! If you’re ever wondering what to do, err on the side of formality.

 

And don’t forget you say the HIGHER ranking person’s name FIRST.

 

So, a few examples of this off the top of my head?  It could be:

 “Client, I’m pleased to introduce my COWORKER”

Or “Boss, I’d like to introduce my associate.”

Or “Mom & Dad, please meet my friend.”

Or “Podcast listener, please meet anyone”

 

(Yep, you’re at the top of my hierarchy!)

 

That’s probably a good place for me to stop, right?

 

Let me quickly summarize and review for you a few of the key learnings from these two episodes on introductions. Again, there’s an easily printable summary in the shownotes on the talkabouttalk.com website.

 

First: how to introduce yourself.

  • We have the three-point framework on how to introduce yourself there’s. Present. Past and future.
  • And then we have the four tips to keep in mind. Enthusiasm. Context. Precision. And your personal brand.

Then there’s how to introduce someone to a group.  Like say introducing a meeting guest or a keynote speaker to an audience. This is where you remind yourself of the three Ts : topic talents and tone.

  1. The first T is TOPIC. Introduce the topic and highlight its significance.
  2. The 2nd T is TALENTS. This is where you share the relevant talents of the person you’re recommending. Their expertise, credentials, accomplishments.
  3. The third T is TONE. Establish an enthusiastic and positive tone in general for the audience but also you want to ensure that the guest feels especially welcome and appreciated.

And last, there’s introducing two people to each other.

  • If it’s online: DO ask both parties first.
  • It it’s IRL, say at a dinner party, stand up, out of your chair, even if they say it isn’t necessary. 
  • Then, regardless of whether its online or IRL:
  • DON’T forget titles and last names if the introduction is formal, professional, or public. (First name only is fine for casual or personal introductions.)
  • DO provide relevant context that will encourage them to start talking.
  • And DON’T hog the conversation OK, now I’m going to get a little more prescriptive. Let me start with

The 5 STEPS IN YOUR SCRIPT for Making Introductions

  1. Say the name of the ‘higher-ranking’ person (
  1. Say “I would like to introduce” or, “please meet” or, “this is,” etc.
  2. Say the name of the ‘lower-ranking’ person.
  1. Provide context
  2. Get out of the way.

 

The last point to remember is to introduce the lower ranking person to the higher-ranking person. As in

“NAME(HIGH RANK), I would like to introduce NAME (LOW RANK)”

or 

“NAME(HIGH RANK), please meet NAME (LOW RANK)”

 

OK, that summary was fast and furious. But I hope you got a lot out of this. I also hope this helps with your confidence with introductions, whether you’re introducing yourself, introducing someone to a group. Or introducing two people to each other.

 

If you have a chance to put these frameworks into action, I’d love to hear  how it goes. Please email me at [email protected] or you can go to the talkabouttalk.com website. Click on contact and send me a message there.

 

While you’re on the website, I really hope you’ll sign up for the Talk About Talk newsletter! This is your chance to get free communication skills coaching from me every week in a simple to digest weekly email. Just go to talk abouttalk.com to sign up or email me directly and I’ll add you to the list. You can email me anytime at [email protected].  I’d love to talk!

 

THANKS for READING – and Talk soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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