4 Ways to Make Top-Notch Introductions

Skip the awkward hellos and get down to business

“You had me at hello.”

If only real-life conversations were that easy.

Be it saying hello to attendees or introducing them to each other, introductions are an essential first step to getting guests comfortable in a room, establishing credibility and preparing for upcoming agenda items. 

And yet so often, introductions can feel awkward or even—dare we say it?—dull. 

To make your introductions more productive and effective, consider these four ways to break the ice.

Create an online community.

You know when you run into someone you already met at a meeting and you immediately feel at ease? Codify this state of mind by creating a community before your meeting. That way, attendees can connect beforehand, or at least do some helpful internet sleuthing on who’s who. Be sure to ask folks to include their social media handles for LinkedIn and Twitter.

Try name tags with a twist. 

Who says a name tag can’t provide a little fun? Move beyond the simple “Hi, my name is Bill” introduction and have attendees give themselves off-beat superlatives, like “World’s Best Karaoke Singer,” or workplace award titles (“Black Hole Award Winner” for person most likely to lose things, for instance). 

Set them up for speed.

Like speed dating, speed networking is an easy way to meet a lot of people fast. Pair up attendees for three- to five-minute chat sessions. Consider providing nonprofessional questions in advance to keep attendee energy up, such as “What superpower do you covet most?” or “If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?” The outside-the-box questions will help guests relate to each other on a more personal level. 

Keep it small.

Even for the most extroverted attendees, walking into a mammoth meeting space can feel daunting. To help people connect quickly, consider breaking groups up based on industry or interest. Or, to keep attendees smiling, create subgroups based on something whimsical, like a favorite dessert or TV villain. (Newman from Seinfeld, anyone?)