Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello: Effective Introductions

·      DO make direct eye contact.

·      DO smile.

·      DO say your name.

·      DON'T wimp out on the handshake.


You Say Goodbye, I Say Hello: Effective Introductions

It seems that networking is the answer today, no matter what the question. It's helpful when you're looking for work, doing your job or trying to get ahead. But at the heart of networking is the most basic challenge, how do you introduce yourself to people in a way that is effective and memorableé Which reminds me of a dog in Yuma, AZ who darted into an apartment. When the residents tried to lure him out of the apartment with food, the dog jumped into the fridge and just snapped at anyone who came near.

Snapping at anyone who comes near, does that sound like youé It's rough at work today, whether you have a job or not. And many of us have a good reason to carry a bad attitude, but that won't get the job done today. That's why I've included three Do's and one Don't for establishing a positive relationship below. For more, check out "Instant Interviews" by Jeffrey G. Allen (Wiley, 2009).

DO make direct eye contact. Eye contact is so darn important. But don't take my word for it. Think back to the last time you talked to someone whose eyes darted around the room while you talked. Did that make you feel specialé Or someone who spent most of the time looking at his or her shoesé Eye contact is essential. Allen even has a bit of advice if the person is ugly, stare at the bridge of their nose.

DO smile. I know a salesperson that does most of his work on the phone. He keeps a mirror next to his phone to remind him to smile when he talks to people. Smiling is something that is also easily lost in today's turbulent economy. But a smile does a remarkable job of making the person that you're talking to feel special. So even if you don't feel like smiling, find a way to psyche yourself out. It's worth the effort.

DO say your name. Say your name clearly when you meet someone. Because there might be noise in the room, the person might be distracted or they could be hard of hearing, pay attention if your name registered. If you don't think it did, don't hesitate to try it again, but this time with a joke or some additional information. I once said, "I'm Bob Rosner, not of the Hampton Rosners, but the Jersey Rosners." It got a smile.

DON'T wimp out on the handshake. Handshakes are a tricky part of the greeting ritual. You want to avoid the dead fish, limp hand edition. But you also want to avoid crushing a number of the small bones in the person's hand. Firm without going overboard establishes just the right tone when you're meeting someone for the first time. That said, I much prefer the more hygienically sound fist bump.  

Follow these tips and the only person snarling will be the other people in the room as they take note of all the great contacts that you've made.

About the Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"Don't introduce me to that man! I want to go on hating him, and I can't hate a man whom I know."

–Charles Lamb

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

Weekly Comic by Jerry King

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