Etiquette: Protocol of Introducing People

Professional Etiquette: Protocol for Introducing People to One Another

The purpose of introducing people is to give them an opportunity to know each other. Beyond just stating names of the two parties, the person making the introduction is often obligated to establish an acquaintance and help the two parties initiate a conversation.

The Art of Making Introductions: Four Steps

The basic protocol of introductions calls for introducing the ‘lesser-ranking’ (socially, professionally, by age or seniority) to the ‘higher-ranking’ person. Here are four steps:

  1. First, state the name of the person being introduced to. This is the ‘higher-ranking’ person.
  2. Second, say “I would like to introduce” or, “please meet” or, “this is,” etc.
  3. Third, state the name of the person being introduced. This is the ‘lower-ranking’ person.
  4. Finally, offer some details about each, as appropriate. As I wrote in a previous article, add a snippet of information about a topic of common interest between the two parties. Do not elaborate. This will help them connect and pursue a conversation.

The foremost principle of etiquette for making introductions lies in understanding reverence and respect. Here are some guidelines.

Higher Ranking Person Lower Ranking Person Example: Introduce lower-ranking person to higher-ranking person
An older person A younger person “Grandma, this is my neighbour, John”
A senior professional A junior professional “Mrs. President, this is Mr. Analyst”
A customer A team of employees “Mr. Customer, this is my sales team”
A guest A host “Ms. New Yorker, this is my daughter, Sarah”
A guest from out-of-town A local guest “Mr. Australian, this is my neighbour Janet”
Peer from another company Peer from your company “Mr. IBMer, this is Ms. Edwards”

When introducing people of equal seniority or status, you may introduce either person to the other.

The Art of Making Introductions

Making Introductions: A Few Examples

  • Introduce a younger person to an older person. “Grandma, please meet Alicia and Carlos, my neighbors.”
  • Introduce a relatively junior professional to a senior professional. “Ms. Director, I would like to introduce Mr. Nakamura, the Chief Product Architect for our software division.”
  • Introduce an employee to a customer. “Mr. Sung, I would like to introduce our plastics engineering team. This is Mark Smith, Jessica Ramos and Liang Zhu. All three participated in last week’s teleconference regarding product definition.”
  • Introduce a host to a guest. “Elaine, I don’t think you have met my daughter, Anna. Anna arranged for all the food at this festival party. Anna, Elaine is my Project Manager.”
  • Introduce a local guest to a guest from out-of-town. “Charlie, this is Debbie. Debbie is my colleague from work. Debbie, Charlie is visiting me from New York. We shared an apartment when we were at Columbia together.”
  • Introduce a peer from your company to a peer from another organization. “Melissa, I would like you to meet Steve, our Systems Engineer. Steve, Melissa Hoffmann is from Marketing. She is our Account Manager for Wal-Mart.”

How to Make Introductions

Gender Distinction

Customarily, a number of people introduce a man to a woman out of respect, regardless of the guidelines presented above.

When introducing a man and a woman at work, consider their positions and seniorities alone. Outside of work, it may be more appropriate to introduce a man to a woman, in contradiction to the above guidelines. Be judicious and sensitive.

Concluding Thoughts

Many people have difficulty introducing people to one another and helping initiate a conversation. With some practice and a sense of social and/or professional ranking, you too can master the art of introduction.


  1. venkateshkr says

    Most of us in india do not give much importance to the protocol of introducing people. Thank you.

  2. Muhammad Naeem Bukhari says

    These are ideas that can easily be practiced. Urdu language suggests introducing people using phrases “Janab! In se miliay, yeh hain Mr …”, “main chahta hoon ke main Mr. … ka ta-aruf ap sy karoon” etc.  Thank you.

  3. Cristina says

    good morning,

    I have a doubt and I would really appreciate some help. I have a customer who has come to our institution to request a credit, and I would like him to meet our Credit Department VP, who also happens to be a woman… My confusion comes from the example where you introduce the employee to the customer, but at the same time, this is no ordinary employee…is the vicepresident of the credit department… who should I introduce to who?


  4. says

    Most guidelines of etiquette are meant to be commonsensical. Typically, you would introduce the guest (more important in the context) to a host party. If your Vice President’s social status is much more prominent than the guest, feel free to introduce the Vice President to the guest. “Ms. [Vice President], please meet [Guest]”

  5. Marcus says

    Recently, attending a meeting, with a friend who was there for the first time, I saw three other friends talking, so took my friend over to introduce her to them. I waited for the the three to finish what they were saying. However, they ignored us, and after waiting for several minutes, it was obvious that they were not going to recognise us, so suggested to my friend that we go into the meeting room, as the meeting was about to start. I am not sure who was in the wrong, i.e. if people are talking, is it acceptable to attempt to introduce someone new to them and whether they were right to ignore both me and my firend.

  6. deborah says

    do i have to stand when being introduced to a man.
    My husband introduced me to his friend and i was sitting. is this ok.
    please reply i really would liuke to know the right thing to do when being introduced.

  7. elena says

    do you have any guidelines in introducing one person and advantages in introducing other people?

  8. ahmed says

    In Indonesian people say,” Pak Rahman, kami perkenalkan ini Pak Khan Singh, Kabag. Produksi dari Bangladesh. Pak Singh, ini Pak Rahman, manager Pemasaran kami.”

  9. D says

    At a church function where there are at least five other members who served in senior post at sometime in the past, on the platform with the main speaker, whom do I introduce first and last, should I shake the main speaker’s hand when he comes to the podium after being introduced?

  10. jkbfkev says

    How do you introduce two friends who both like the same thing to each other without giving the false and utterly incorrect impression that I’m trying to hook them up?

  11. M C Zubair says

    This site helps the persons like me very much.add more situation-based introducing people.Thanks a lot for providing such conveniences

  12. Annette gambrell says

    Can a guest be introduced over the pa system with out the one that’s introducing them be seen. And the person that’s being introduced is not coming up to speak

  13. Jackie huguenard says

    I will be introducing my company’s Sr. VP & COO to several guest from our company’s financial institution’s including their VP, Loan Accounting & three other lessor positions. How should I introduce these individuals to each other?

  14. Sameera Premarathna says

    First of all let me appreciate the great thing you are doing.
    Actually it is very useful for us to learn the etiquette of introducing people.
    I would like to know the normal procedure when I am introducing one of my family members to more than one of my superiors at work. Your early response would be highly appreciated.
    Thank you.

  15. says

    First I would like to appreciate the good work done here. Since I got this information I started gaining some skills on how to introduce people to each other, but still than I would like you to add more different strategies on how to do a professional introduction.
    thank You

  16. Nichol says

    At my son’s wedding, I introduced, “Linda, the bride’s mother”, to “my brother, Gerald and Debbie”, followed by, “Charles, the bride’s father.” I felt like this was a courteous introduction of people who had not met. My brother later corrected me, by saying that I should introduce Debbie as “his wife.” Was this a serious faux pas?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *