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Six introduction & networking mistakes to avoid

Introducing yourself and others to key contacts is essential for building business relationships and networking effectively. It’s not something that you often think about, but if you pay attention it happens almost every day, and depending on where you work within a business, sometimes more often than that. However, there are pitfalls that many professionals can avoid when making introductions. So, to avoid the awkward social blunders, we present six introduction mistakes to avoid:

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Looking away
Looking away when you are being introduced to someone gives off the impression that you are disinterested and don’t care about who you are meeting. Always maintain eye contact when being introduced.

Making overly personal comments
When introducing someone to a group you should give a piece of information about them. Avoid alluding to divorce, job loss, illness or any sensitive topic. Instead stick to their job title, where they work or what field they’re in. You can even indicate how you met them.

Interrupting
Don’t break in to a conversation or simply force yourself into one. Wait until you are introduced to the group or brought in to the conversation. If you are the introducer, see the last point.

Deferring to one person
Avoid speaking only to one person and ignoring the others in the group. This behaviour is especially prevalent in groups of three, and makes the person being ignored feel awkward. Make sure you engage with everyone in your group and at least make eye contact and acknowledge people you are not immediately speaking to.

Overly enthusiastic introductions
It’s always nice to highlight something positive about the person you are introducing but keep it within reason. Don’t introduce colleagues or clients with superfluous introductions as these tend to embarrass people. Avoid using phrases such as “the smartest person at our firm” “the greatest” “the most accomplished”, “the most amazing” etc. These come off as unprofessional and a little immature.

Making someone wait to be introduced:
Introduce any newcomers to the group immediately, making people wait causes them to feel left out, embarrassed and awkward. If you fail to do so immediately, wait until the next possible moment and introduce – the longer you leave it the more awkward it gets!

So, follow these simple steps and make sure you get the best introduction each time. As a leader, it’s always good sense to look for ways to improve and simplify your leadership practices, and after all, you only get one chance at an introduction!

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