Establishing workplace relationships is critical to the success of any company – large or small. Being able to make a memorable (for a good reason) introduction is your ticket to such opportunities. Although being nervous or enervated, when meeting new clients is usual, there is a distinct difference between angst and ‘the force.’

Making a respectful introduction involves 3 basic, yet essential steps.

  1. Visual contact is generally the first contact one has with a client when in a face-to-face introduction. Be sure to stand up straight, smile, and prepare to both speak and shake hands, almost simultaneously. The first eye contact one makes speaks volumes about one’s character, one’s self esteem, and one’s demeanor. Make sure yours is friendly and sincere, but not solicitous or disinterested.
  2. Face one another squarely and extend your arms so that your hands meet in a firm web-to-web handshake. You will find yourselves standing approximately 19 inches apart. Two to three shakes are sufficient before parting and stating one another’s name.
  3. Introduce yourself by stating your full name, but without title (such as General or Ms.). This is followed by “How do you do?” not “nice to meet you.” You don’t yet know if it’s ‘nice’ or not, so the remark is in fact ingenuous. The correct response to “How do you do?” is “How do you do?” Small talk then ensues and you should be off to the races.

These three steps are the ingredients you provide your potential business client to form their all-important ‘first impression.’ Practice these steps as often as necessary for them to become second nature. But, do not stress unduly. Although one never gets a second chance to make a first impression, one always has a chance to make a good impression!

This is part of an ongoing series on etiquette in the workplace. Read previous posts here.

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