One of the few “easy” social items that a PR girl (or guy) has to master is the introduction. We put so much pressure on ourselves to create a network, but it is so simple to mess up a first impression or introduction that can set the tone for your new connection. Many people don’t even know they’re doing it. Here are a few tips to nail the introduction, so you can be confident at your next interview or PR networking event:
We don’t really think a chart is necessary.
- First and foremost, make sure you are clean and put together. Whether you have an hour to prepare to for a networking event or 10 seconds before your boss introduces you to a client, make sure your breath is fresh, your makeup is in place, do a tongue-sweep over the teeth – whatever you need to put your best face forward
- Smile! This goes such a long way.
- Say a pleasant greeting like “Hi! So great to meet you, I’m Meg” or “Pleasure is all mine, Karen. Great to finally put a face to a name.” Something a little more than “Hello” or “How are you?” sets the tone for the conversation. If you’re an introvert, this can also be the small push you need to get comfortable in the meeting and feel in control
- Make sure your handshake is firm, not a fish. I was lucky to have my dad teach me how to shake hands at a young age, but that also means I have a bit of a firm grip. Your shake should say “I’m happy to be here and meet you!” Not “I couldn’t care less about this formality” or “I might kill you with how hard I am trying.”
- Remember the name! If you need to repeat it a couple times before it sticks, do so. “So glad to meet you, Karen.” “Karen, have you met my colleague, Ben?” “Karen, can I get you coffee?”
- Avoid personal questions, unless information is offered. Never ask a person’s age, weight (duh), or marital status. Questions about university, hometown, sports, weather (you get it) are fair conversation starters
- Offer your business card at the end of the meeting (or resume, if appropriate), to signal you’d like the new contact’s card as well