The Butler Is In: 6 tips for proper introductions
'People will remember how you treated them, they will remember how you made them feel'
The Butler Is In. CBC P.E.I. has launched a summer series featuring certified protocol and etiquette consultant John Robertson, who will guide us through how to do things, the right way, starting with proper introductions.
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Robertson spends his summers in Murray Harbour, and is a professionally-trained English butler.
"You don't get a second chance to make a first impression," said Robertson. An introduction is what people remember you by and for.
1. Stand up
"Bring yourself to the table," advises Robertson. If others are standing and you are seated, you weaken your position by not putting yourself, literally, at their level.
2. Face it
"Be aware of your body language," Roberston said, and face those to whom you are introducing yourself or being introduced to.
"People will remember how you treated them, they will remember how you made them feel," said Robertson, noting if your feet are facing another direction or you are checking your phone, it will leave a negative impression.
3. Make eye contact
"People don't want to be stared at," so focus on the area of a person's face between their eyes and nose, said Roberston.
A good rule of thumb: look at people long enough to determine the colour of their eyes.
4. Use your full name
"Good morning, may I introduce myself? I'm John Robertson," is the formula he recommends. Use a confident voice — don't make your introduction sound like a question. If your introduction comes across as too formal, you can always "back down," said Robertson, but if you come across as too casual, it's more difficult to ramp up.
"It's a good idea to be smiling. Not grinning like the Cheshire Cat, ear to ear, but a smile."
6. Shake hands
Don't: be a limp, wet fish or a bone-crusher.
Do: make good contact, "we call it web to web, between your index finger and your thumb, and just two pumps, from the elbow. Not from the wrist and not from the shoulder."
Not all cultures want to jump into a handshake the way we do in the western world, Robertson notes, so be sensitive when meeting people from different cultures.
"It looked like it was going to go global, this handshaking" he said, but the trend has waned, and some prefer to put a hand on their heart or bow slightly.
Robertson has advised people and companies all over the world, and has met the Queen three times. He has studied international and business etiquette as well as children's and teen etiquette at The Protocol School of Washington, as well as the Etiquette and Leadership Institute in Atlanta, Georgia.
If you have an etiquette question, e-mail email@example.com and The Butler Is In will try to answer it.
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