Episode #8

Tales of the C-Suite

It’s that time of year when many of us have started watching our favourite charming, entertaining and sometimes horrifying festive films.

We can learn many life skills from movies, old and new.

A festive favourite is “Bridget Jones’ Diary”. In this 2001 movie, Renée Zellweger’s character Bridget Jones does a fine job of introducing guests at the “Kafka’s Motorbike” book launch party.

This comic interplay is actually a learned life skill.

It may seem old fashioned, yet the respect, warmth, charm and common courtesy you show in everyday situations will be noticed by your colleagues, your clients and your business partners.

And will make you stand out for all the right reasons at the office Christmas party.

How to introduce people in a business context. 

Whether it is at the Christmas party, a pitch for new business or an industry networking event, there are certain protocols that apply to making introductions.

When making an introduction in a business context, one person is always introduced to another person by saying the name of the person to whom the other is being introduced.

For example, “Simon, I would like you to meet our new copywriter, William Tell.  William, I would like to introduce our Creative Director, Simon Says”. In this instance, the junior member of staff is introduced to the more senior member of staff.

The norms for introducing people are:

  • The younger person is introduced to the older person.
  • A man is introduced to a woman.
  • A younger couple is introduced to an older couple.
  • A junior member of staff to a senior member of staff.
  • For de facto couples or married couples with different surnames, introduce the woman first and use their full names. For example, “Bridget Jones and Mark Darcy”.

To introduce yourself when meeting new colleagues, clients and at networking events, extend your hand and say:

“Hello, I’m first name surname. I’m the title at company name”. For example, “Hello, I’m Amanda MacLean. I am the founder of The Gravitas Project”. 

Always, always, always use your full name.

This can be best explained by quoting another festive film favourite, “You’ve Got Mail”, when Meg Ryan’s character Kathleen Kelly laments:

“… as if you were one of those stupid 22-year-old girls with no last name? “Hi, I’m Kimberly!” “Hi, I’m Janice!” Don’t they know you’re supposed to have a last name? It’s like they’re an entire generation of cocktail waitresses.”

In a business networking situation, I tend to introduce myself even if I have previously met the person. This helps to alleviate any discomfort on the other person’s behalf if they do not remember your name. If you forget someone’s name, simply apologise briefly and wait for them to volunteer their name.

Remember to use a friendly, warm and relaxed tone of voice when making introductions, and to smile.

Like the Christmas movie, business etiquette is making a comeback. Armed with the proper protocols, you are sure to glide through the festive season’s round of parties, dinners and business-social events with grace.

Be remembered for all the right reasons. Be the obvious choice to the C-Suite.

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