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Business And Personal Etiquette:
Habit That Annoy
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Faring Forth To A Tea
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Voice And Conversation

How To Make A Proper Introduction

( Originally Published 1940 )

The ability to make introductions correctly is very important. Introductions should not be made unnecessarily but on many occasions must not be omitted. Each guest should be introduced to a guest of honor. If a guest has been overlooked in this respect, he should request to be introduced. All guests at a small luncheon or dinner should be introduced. The hostess should see that her guests are introduced to those near whom they are to be seated if the gathering is rather large; she should be sure to introduce the four who are to play together at bridge.

A Man to a Woman

In the social world a man is always introduced to a woman, "Mrs. Brown, may I present Mr. Black," or, "Mrs. Brown, I should like to present Mr. Black:" The word "present" makes this introduction the most formal of all introductions. The same introduction may also be made in the following ways, "Mrs. Brown, I should like to introduce Mr. Black," or, "Mrs. Brown, Mr. Black," as it is not necessary to use a sentence in an ntroduction. Many persons prefer the correct but less formal introduction, "Mr. Black, have you met Mrs. Brown?" or, "Mr. Black, may I introduce you to Mrs. Brown:" This last, however, is not spoken with the rising inflection as it is not a question directed to Mr. Black. In all instances cited, the deference is being shown Mrs. Brown.

Younger Person to Older

Introduce a younger person to an older person of the same sex; as, "Miss Older, may I present Miss Younger?" "Miss Older, may I present Mrs. Younger?" or, "Miss Younger, have you met Miss Older?" An exception to this rule is made if the younger person is the more distinguished of the two. Others are introduced to a distinguished person; as, "Miss Distinguished, may I present Mrs. Brown?"

Never say, "May I present," or, "May I introduce," when introducing two men; say, "Mr. Older, Mr. Younger," "Mr. Younger, do you know Mr. Older?" or, "Mr. Younger, have you met Mr. Older?"

Group Introductions

The person who is introducing a man to a group says, "Mr. Lake, I should like to introduce you to Miss Smith, Mr. James, Mrs. Lyons, and Miss Floyd," the names being given in the order in which the guests are standing or sitting. If a woman is being introduced to the group, the person who is introducing says, "Miss Blake, may I introduce Miss Smith, Mr. James, Mrs. Lyons, and Miss Floyd?"

If two persons are being introduced to a group, their names are given, then the names of the group. If one of the two is a woman, her name, of course, is given first. The one who is being introduced says, "How do you do," to one person, and to the next may nod or smile, to avoid awkward repetitions.

At a small party of five or six, the stranger is introduced to all guests; at a large party, he is introduced only to those near whom he will be seated. A guest is never led around the room to be introduced to those present.


Self-introductions are sometimes necessary. In such situations a man introduces himself as, "John Jones"; or, if a title would be used when addressing him, as "Dr. Jones." A woman introduces herself as "Mary Gordon," unless the situation is very formal, when she introduces herself as "Miss Gordon." A married woman introduces herself as "Mrs. Brown: "

Receiving-Line Introductions

All guests are presented to a distinguished woman guest of honor, even though some of the women guests are much older than the honored guest. If the guest of honor is a man, even though a distinguished one, he is presented to each woman. The men, however, except elderly ones, are presented to him.

If a man and a woman approach the receiving line together, the woman is presented first; then the man. Each member of the receiving line shakes hands with the guest and introduces him to the one who is next in the receiving line.

Introducing Relatives

The following less formal but correct introductions are much used by younger persons:

"Mr. Old, this is my brother, John."

"Dad, I'd like you to meet Mary Jones, who is working on the school paper with me."

"Mother, this is Mary Brown," or, "Mother, this is Jim Bates."

"Miss Black, I want you to meet my mother, Mrs. Ray." (Mother is remarried.)

"Mother, this is Mrs. Green-my mother, Mrs. Grant." (The daughter is married; consequently, she mentions her mother's name.)

"My Friend"

In introductions, it is permissible to say, "my aunt," "my sister," or, "my cousin," but never, "my friend." Also, never say, "Shake hands with," or, "I want to make you acquainted with," when introducing two people. Men often make this mistake, "Mr. Jones, meet Mr. Smith:" "Have you met" is correct, but "meet" is not.

What to Say

The proper acknowledgment to an introduction is, "How do you do," or, "How do you do, Mrs. Brown." Never say, "Pleased to meet you," or, "I'm glad to make your acquaintance"; your pleasure will be expressed by your voice. When leaving someone who has just been introduced, say, "Good-by, I'm very glad to have met you," or, "Good-by, I hope I shall see you again soon." The response is, "Good-by, thank you," or, "Good-by, I hope I shall, too."

What to Do

Men always shake hands with each other when they are introduced. A woman may or may not offer her hand to a man, just as she chooses; but if he offers his, she should not be so rude as to ignore it. When women are introduced to each other, they may or may not shake hands, just as they wish. The older or the more distinguished of the two should take the initiative.

When to Rise

A woman does not rise to meet a man unless he is her host and she is meeting him for the first time or the man is elderly. Women rise when they are introduced to or by an older woman or a woman of prominence.

A host or hostess rises to meet all guests and to say good-by. Men and women both rise to greet their hostess. Men rise for all introductions. They also rise when a woman enters the room where they are seated. They must remain standing as long as the hostess or any other woman stands. Men also rise when older men come into the room. Children rise for all introductions.

Hats Removed or Lifted

When a man and a woman are walking along the street and meet a friend of one of them, the man removes his hat when the introduction is made and keeps it off as long as they stand talking. He replaces it when they start walking again. A stiff hat is removed or lifted by the brim, but a soft hat is lifted by the crown, usually in the right hand. The hat is quickly transferred to the left hand if those introduced shake hands. A man removes his glove to shake hands, but a woman does not. A man lifts his hat when he passes or meets a woman he knows, or if he is with someone who greets a woman acquaintance. A man also lifts his hat to an older or very distinguished man, but he merely touches his fingers to the brim of his hat when meeting an acquaintance of his own age and sex.

Proper Business Introductions

Few introductions are made in a business office, but those who are to work together should be introduced.

An executive should not introduce his secretary to strangers in his office unless the secretary is to do some work for them. As a general rule, a secretary is introduced only to those she works for or works with. This introduction is no different from any other; the man is introduced to the woman; as, "Miss Day, this is Mr. Green, who wishes to dictate some letters to you."

An employee can facilitate matters for his superior when introducing a business caller by giving some explanation concerning the call; as, "Mr. Brown, this is Mr. Glass of the Citizens Trust Company, to see about those Municipal Bonds."

When an executive introduces his private secretary to his wife, the secretary rises and says, "How do you do." After acknowledging the introduction, she may leave the room during the wife's visit or go back to her own work. In a business introduction, a man refers to his wife as "Mrs. Brown," and she speaks of her husband as "Mr. Brown"; but in the social introduction to acquaintances she is introduced as "my wife" and he as "my husband"; to friends she is "Mary," and he is "John."

A Man Rises

In an office a man rises to receive a woman visitor and remains standing until she has been introduced and is seated. When she rises to leave, he rises and walks with her to the door.

When a busy person wishes to terminate a conference, he rises; and of course the visitor rises too. Then they start walking toward the door; before the visitor is aware of what has happened, he finds himself in the corridor.

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