1. When you greet people in person for the first time—To make a positive first impression when meeting new people, include the following as part of your greeting: a warm smile, an introduction that includes your first and last name, a welcoming comment, direct eye contact and a firm handshake, if appropriate. I also recommend repeating the person’s name. For instance, “It’s very nice to meet you Bob.”
2. When you meet people who don’t tell you their name—If this occurs, simply ask them for their name. I might say, “I didn’t catch your name.” After they respond, I will repeat their name as described in the previous point. This is a simple way of demonstrating your interest in them.
3. When someone introduces you and does not include your name—When you are introduced to someone and the person making the introduction doesn’t include your name, it’s likely they forgot it or they don’t know how to make a proper introduction. In this case, offer a warm greeting as I described in the first tip and be sure to include your first and last name. This will prove you are paying attention and that you realize your name was omitted.
4. When you greet someone who likely forgot your name—When I greet people I have not seen in a while, I always take the initiative to introduce myself by name. I could say, “Hi Paul; Todd Smith; how are you doing?” If I don’t remember the person’s name, I will introduce myself by sharing my name and hope they respond by sharing theirs. If people don’t offer their name in the greeting, I will often say something like, “Will you kindly remind me of your name?”
5. When you are not introduced—I was with a friend in a restaurant recently and a couple of his friends stopped by the table to say hi. He talked to them for a few minutes but never introduced me. The proper etiquette in this circumstance would have been for him to introduce me to his friends.
When I’m not introduced to people, I generally respond by introducing myself if the right opportunity presents itself. This seems to make everyone feel more comfortable.
6. When you meet with a group of people you DON’T know—Have you ever walked into a room with a small group of people you didn’t know and stood there awkwardly not knowing what you should do? If this happens, be proactive and introduce yourself to each person in the room. This will make you stand out from the group as someone with confidence. It will also make everyone feel more at ease.
7. When you meet with a group of people you DO know—When you get together with a group of friends or business associates, immediately greet each person with a friendly greeting. As new people join the group, be the first one to show you care by greeting them. My daughter Hannah calls this “Being Like a Dog.” Dogs are always happy to see you and they’re the first ones to greet you.
8. When you meet with a group of people-some you know and some you don’t know—When I find myself in this situation, I will always greet the people I know and introduce myself to the people I have not yet met. Once again, this seems to make everyone in the group feel comfortable.
9. When you greet a receptionist—Whether you are greeting the receptionist at your dentist’s office or at the offices of one of your clients, always introduce yourself with a smile and friendly greeting. For instance, “Hi my name is Todd Smith, I have a 4:00 appointment with Steve Johnson.” In the case of a business environment, I always hand the receptionist my business card to go along with my verbal introduction.
10. Practice, practice, practice—If you will follow these tips, you can be assured of making a positive first impression and enhance your existing relationships. You will be viewed as someone who is friendly, confident and recognizes the value of making people feel comfortable. I realize some of these recommendations may feel a little uncomfortable at first, but like anything, the more you do it, the more comfortable it will become.