Hello, my name is Irma, I’m pleased to meet you...?
This is quite an awkward moment and leaves me hanging in mid-air with one thought—should I get up my nerve and ask
what's your name?
Or more sneakily,
I’m sorry, I didn’t hear your name...?
First, let’s start with the impression this leaves in those critical first few seconds of meeting someone. Having a positive attitude means being welcoming of another person’s efforts, because let’s face it—for some of us, walking up to a complete stranger, saying hello, and introducing ourselves is just not easy. We might be feeling shy and reserved; or feel reluctant, having language barriers or other cultural standards. Or maybe we just woke up on the wrong side of the bed.
Let’s get back to that uncomfortable moment and what goes through my head. First I think—oh, they must think I know them because everyone else does and they are
- famous and well-kown; or
feeling inadequate saying their name because everyone else knows who they are—why else would they stand mute?Quick digression: a friend recently told me about an extremely embarrassing moment at a casual event. He shook hands with a Latvian man, then introduced himself and asked,
And your name, please?The gentleman replied with a smile,
It’s Raimonds Vejonis, the newly-elected president of Latvia.My friend (not from Latvia but lives here) wanted to crawl under a rock and disappear. Luckily, Mr. Vejonis just laughed and took it in stride. But my friend was mortified that he had not recognized the President of Latvia. Ekkk!
- When being introduced, say your name clearly so that the other person hears your name. If you you think the other person might have difficult with your name, spell it out or break it down. Don't leave it to them to ask you: in some cultures, it's impolite to second-guess!
- Be friendly and smile—this really, really helps!
If you are with your partner, spouse, friend, or relative, introduce them as well.
Sometimes, if it’s a very informal
hi, then it may not be necessary to introduce your companion. But remember that you run the risk of offending your companion as well!
- Most importantly: remember the 3-times rule. Try to say the person’s name three times: in the beginning, when you comment on something, and when you leave.
How can you help if you're the host or hostess of a social event?
In one particular situation, a couple might be invited to your party and be the
new faces in a very closely-knit group.
Should you see this and go into action introducing them and telling the other guests a little about them?
Friends, meet Paul and Linda. Linda and I take yoga classes together twice a week. Paul is her husband, and they just bought
a summerplace here.
An introduction alone might suffice, but it helps a great deal to establish some common ground among your guests.
Why are they there? What do they do? How do you know them?
This gives your existing group fodder for discussion with the new guests.