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, it is often the obligation of the person making the introduction to establish an acquaintance and help the two parties initiate a conversation.

The Art of Making Introductions: Four Steps

Four Steps for Introducing People to One Another 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 of each other, as appropriate. As I wrote in a previous blog 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.

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

A Few Examples

  • Examples of Introducing People to One Another 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 from-another-town guest. “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.”

Gender Distinction

Gender Distinction in Introducing People 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. Only be judicious and sensitive.

Concluding Thoughts

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


  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?

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