Q. What is the proper way to introduce two people to one another?


When introducing two people to one another, always turn first to the eldest person, or person of higher status. You might say, “Ms. Jones, I’d like you to meet Junko Konno, a friend of mine since high school.” Then turn to the person of secondary status and say, “Junko, this is Mary Jones, the president of my company.” Assuming that Mary Jones is older than Junko, Mary would probably reply, “How do you do, Junko. It’s a pleasure to meet you.” She would use Junko’s first name, but Junko would probably reply, “I’m happy to meet you, Ms. Jones.”

When you are responsible for introducing others, be sure to briefly mention your relationship to the others so that they will know how to relate to one another. For example, it is helpful to know whether Jack is brother, neighbor, boy–friend or classmate.

Furthermore, if the two people are going to carry on even a brief conversation, you should provide hints as to what they might share in common. For example, if you know that the two people have a common acquaintance, a shared hobby or live in the same part of town, then mention that fact. “By the way, Mary’s family is from Southern California, near where you live.” “Mary loves to go fishing, so maybe you could suggest a good site near here.” “Mary has visited Tokyo on several occasions because of business.” In terms of providing an inducement to conversation, one should take care in this variety of “small talk” as well.

Although business gatherings are different, at private parties and other informal gatherings, it is not necessary to mention a person’s occupation or what kind of company the person works for. In such situations, people are more interested in you as an individual than the “position” you hold. And when you are at such a party, keep your meishi in your pocket. It is not a time for networking and business.