Introductions are a first step in conversation with someone you’ve never met before. They are necessary for engagement and for helping others feel comfortable.
However, the opportunities for networking and engaging with others have primarily moved to virtual platforms. And sadly, for now anyway, the handshake – that universal “hello, welcome” and deal-sealer – is out of the picture. Yet, it is still important to know something about the person we will be communicating with in whatever context or environment that communication will take place.
How do we properly make introductions in a mostly virtual world?
For now, personal networking, events, most in-person gatherings, and cocktail parties are not happening. We aren’t going “somewhere” to meet other people. Instead, we now sit on a screen with only upper bodies visible in order to communicate with unmasked faces.
When we were really there, the physical space and time facilitated moving about freely, finding others to engage in conversation. While meeting and greeting, we orchestrated our own movements based on the reasons we attended. Now when we actually do meet in person, masked-face to masked-face, without touch and standing distanced, introducing ourselves and introducing others is a little different. And there is no food table to mingle around!
When we were meeting up close and in person, we could get a feel for who we were talking with through interactive body language. We were about the person and now we are about the information. We need more verbal context to conduct a meaningful conversation.
Otherwise, the rules of introductions are pretty much the same.
When introducing yourself in person:
General guidelines when introducing others:
The art of introductions will always be the cornerstone of bringing people together. Whether in-person, virtually, or electronically, the formality of introducing potential business associates, friends, or romantic partners is no less important now as it was before physical distancing became necessary.
After all, the more people who meet each other, the better we are for it!