How to Introduce Someone

Businessman and businesswoman shaking hands at conference table
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Knowing how to introduce someone in business and social settings is an important social skill that you should not overlook. Why are introductions important? They help you get to know people and put others at ease.

Fortunately, knowing how to introduce people gets easier with practice. Below are some simple steps for making introductions.

Determine Who Should Be Introduced to Whom

The name of the older or higher-ranking person should be said first.

 For example:

"Dr. Jones, I'd like to introduce you to my friend, John."

When all other things are equal, the name of the person whom you know better should be said first. In a business situation, the client is always considered higher ranking. At a party, guests should always be introduced to the guest of honor. 

Use Full Names and Titles

Unless you are in a casual setting, use first and last names, as well as titles such as "Dr." when appropriate. If the person whom you are introducing has a relationship to you, share this with others.

For example:

"Edith Smith, I'd like you to meet Natalie Jones." (Edith is older than Natalie)

"President Trump, I'd like to introduce my husband Paul Brown."

Introduce Individuals First

In a group setting such as at a party, introduce a person to the group first. For example, "David, these are my friends Steve, John, Elizabeth, and Natasha. Everyone, this is David."

Introductions like this should be made for a group of up to six people. If there are more than six people present, only make introductions to those that are nearby or those whom the person will be sitting with. You should never lead someone around a room making introductions.

Acknowledge the Introduction

In general, when you are introduced to someone it is polite to say "How are you?" If it is someone whom you have been told about, you might make a comment along the lines of "So-and-so has told me so much about you."

If someone has forgotten to introduce you, introduce yourself and explain how you know the host if you are at a party. In business settings, extending your hand for a handshake is generally more appropriate if you are the higher-ranking person in a pair. It's also better to wait until after an introduction to shake hands, so that you can concentrate on the other person's name first.

Tips / Tricks

  1. If you have forgotten someone's name, it is more polite and less awkward to acknowledge the fact than to avoid an introduction.
  2. If you are being introduced to a group of people, you do not need to say something after each introduction. It is fine to just nod after the first introduction to avoid repeating yourself.
  3. Formal etiquette rules dictate that men should stand when being introduced to women, and women should stand when being introduced to older women. However, it is best to judge the situation and the actions of those around you when deciding whether to stand up.
  4. Take your time making introductions. Speak slowly so that everyone can understand the names you are saying.
  5. When introducing yourself, don't use titles like "Dr." It makes you sound stuffy.

Research on Introductions and Social Anxiety

A 2012 study of 30 socially anxious and 30 low socially anxious individuals demonstrated that when a brief internet chat with a person preceded face-to-face interaction with that same person, social anxiety was reduced. The study authors proposed that computer-medication communication (CMC) might be a useful form of safety behavior, in that the individual can disconfirm negative beliefs.

What does this mean? If you chat with someone a bit online before you actually meet them, you have a better chance of overcoming negative thoughts that plague you when you first meet someone in person. Instead of thinking, "I'm so nervous, this person is not going to like me," you might think something like, "I remember having a good chat online, we seemed to have some things in common" and pick things up from there.

This can be particularly helpful when it comes to dating. "Meeting" someone online first can help decrease the anxiety of meeting them for the first time on a date.

A Word From Verywell

If you find yourself with the task of making introductions or being introduced, try to remember the rules but don't get too caught up in them. Above all else, offer a warm smile and firm handshake. Be welcoming and open and the rest of your introduction should naturally fall into place; you might even find yourself at the start of a beautiful friendship.

2 Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Yen JY, Yen CF, Chen CS, Wang PW, Chang YH, Ko CH. Social anxiety in online and real-life interaction and their associated factors. Cyberpsychol Behav Soc Netw. 2012;15(1):7-12.

  2. Blöte AW, Duvekot J, Schalk RD, Tuinenburg EM, Westenberg PM. Nervousness and performance characteristics as predictors of peer behavior towards socially anxious adolescents. J Youth Adolesc. 2010;39(12):1498-507. doi:10.1007/s10964-009-9463-3

Additional Reading

By Arlin Cuncic
Arlin Cuncic, MA, is the author of "Therapy in Focus: What to Expect from CBT for Social Anxiety Disorder" and "7 Weeks to Reduce Anxiety."