Strategies for Successful Meetings and Greetings

By Lydia Ramsey

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Every workday is a series of meetings and greetings, many of them initial contacts. Use these simple strategies to make a good first impression.

  • Stand up when you meet someone. This allows you to engage the person on an equal level, eye to eye. Remaining seated sends a message that you don’t think the other person is important enough to warrant the effort it takes to stand. If you find yourself in a position where you can’t stand up, like at a crowded conference table, offer a brief apology and explanation, such as, “Please excuse me for not getting up. I need more legroom.”
  • Smile. Facial expressions say more than words. Look as if you’re pleased to meet the other person regardless of whatever else you’re doing. Put a smile on your face for the person standing before you.
  • Make eye contact. Looking at the people you meet says you’re focused and interested in them. If you stare off somewhere else, you may appear to be looking for someone more to your liking.
  • Introduce yourself immediately. As soon as you approach people you don’t know, or are approached by them,
    tell them who you are. Don’t stand around as if someone else is in charge of introductions.
  • When necessary, include a statement about who you are. Give more information. “Hello, I’m Mary Jones. I work for XYZ Corporation.”
  • Offer a firm handshake. Extend your hand while greeting someone. The person who puts a hand out first comes across as confident and at ease. Make sure that this physical part of your greeting is professional, with neither a bone-crushing grip nor a limp wrist.
  • Learn how to make smooth introductions. In business, always introduce less important people to more important people. Say the name of the more important person first, followed by the words, “I’d like to introduce,” then give the other person’s name. If appropriate, add something about each person so they will know why they’re being introduced; this also gives them some information with which to start a conversation.
  • Know who the more important person is. Generally, the client or the business prospect is more important than the boss of the person making the introductions. If you don’t know, or if the two people are at the same level, introduce the person joining you to the person you’re already speaking with. Use your judgment; the goal is for the introductions to be given smoothly and the people to feel at ease.
  • Pay attention to names. Focus, concentrate, and repeat the name as soon as you hear it, as a memory aid.
  • In some settings, use the first names of people whom you have just met only after they give you permission. Not everyone wants to be addressed informally in an initial encounter. Use your judgment in determining when favoring formality is better than offending someone by presuming familiarity.

Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, speaker, and trainer, and the author of Manners That Sell; Adding the Polish That Builds Profits. For more information, visit




















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