Making Introductions at Networking Events


How to Introduce Business Connections as a Center of Influence

Business introductions are important to every business owner and entrepreneur trying to make a living in a difficult economy. Mastering the art of introducing people elevates a business networker to a center of influence, a person who is sought out because of his or her connections. Introducing people to one another requires a good memory, a firm handshake, and a giving attitude; success at introducing people can be a surprisingly effective competitive advantage in business.

Etiquette and Business Introductions

According to manners maven Thelma Domenici, “Business introductions are based on rank. It is proper to present a person of lesser authority to a person of senior authority. You will do it correctly if you say the more important person’s name first,” for example, “Mayor Alexander, please meet our new summer intern John Carter.”

At a business card exchange or other networking event, it is safer to assume that all participants are of equal rank. In those cases, Domenici recommends introducing the more-familiar person; it’s easier to find appropriate things to say.

What to Say in Introduction

Introductions should be short, yet informative. When introducing two people, the goal is to set the stage for further conversation. Follow these steps for a model introduction:

  1. Ensure you remember the name of each party to the introduction.
  2. Use either company or title, if appropriate. “Dr. Ness, I wanted to introduce you to Jason Stern of Luminary Publishing.”
  3. Include a bit of information about each person to sum up, starting with the person you are introducing. Ideally that information should help the parties connect: “Jason publishes the Chronogram, the Hudson Valley’s culture magazine, which has a big alternative health section. Dr. Ness specializes in Active Release Techniques, which improves mobility by destroying old scar tissue.”
  4. Shake hands with the party of the first part (Dr. Ness in the example above) and encourage the newly introduced person to do likewise.
  5. Bow out of the conversation as soon as it is convenient to do so.

Value of Introductions

Attendees at business networking functions are not always outgoing enough to introduce themselves, and savvy networkers understand that being introduced by a third party often carries more weight regardless. Introducing people creates a certain amount of social capital – the introduced parties are more likely to want to find ways to help the introducer in turn. Making introductions can turn a center of influence into a power broker, a sought-after person that knows who can do the job, no matter what the job happens to be.

Business networking is an art, and is significantly enhanced by mastering proper business introductions. Introducing business associates can generate significant good will, which is the cornerstone of successful business networking.

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