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Helping your child make proper introductions

May 2016

As your children are ready to launch themselves out into the world,  you want to be sure they know how to communicate with others with ease.  Knowing just a few basic rules of good communication will enable them to get along well with others, and, eventually, to impress college admissions officers, succeed in job interviews, obtain the admiration of the opposite sex, to earn respect and recognition, and to turn self-consciousness into self-confidence. 

The first rule of good communication is that when you meet and greet people, you should make proper introductions.  Many young people do not know how to make introductions or perhaps they are afraid to try, so they simply do not make the effort, which is the worst choice of all.  The most important rule you can teach them about making introductions is to make the effort to make them.

First your child should say his name clearly and distinctly:  “Hello, my name is Juan.”  Then, whenever possible,  your child should introduce the lesser person to the greater, such as the younger to the older, a gentleman to a lady, or a less-distinguished person to a more distinguished one.  When they do so, they should give first and last names, or at least give each person a name they can use to address the person they are meeting.  For example, instead of saying “This is my grandma,” say “I would like you to meet my grandmother, Mrs. Sanchez.” 

Other tips you can give your child regarding introductions are to always address an adult with a title such as Mr., Mrs., Dr., or Coach before their last name.  He should also try to include some additional information about each person so they will be able to have a conversation.  For example, instead of saying just, “Mom, this is Miguel,” it is more helpful to say “Mom, this is my friend Miguel Chavez from school.  He’s on my soccer team.”  Be sure to remind your child that he should give both first and last names when he can.  In addition, if he finds himself somewhere with a friend, and a whole group of friends comes along, simply to say the name of the friend already with him.  The members of the group can introduce themselves individually later. 

A tricky part of making introductions can be remembering names. However, that should not keep your child from making her friends and family more comfortable by going ahead and introducing them anyway.  Tell your child that when she sees an acquaintance approaching whose name she cannot remember, to extend her hand and say something like “Hi, I’m Angelina Vigil.  I was in your math class last year.”  Hopefully, the other person will help out and repeat his name.   If she is not so fortunate to have a thoughtful person on the other end of the greeting, simply tell her to say, “Sorry, my mind has just gone blank.  I can’t remember your name. You will have to help me out,” or “I know we’ve met.  Please tell me your name again.” If she does not understand the other person’s name when she is introduced, she can simply say, I’m sorry, I didn’t quite get your name.” 

Everyone has social skills, good or bad.  If you teach your child the basic rules of how to make proper introductions, and show them how to put them into practice, you will be confident he or she will be making good first impressions and will be more comfortable and successful in all the social situations they face.  It takes only a few seconds to make a first impression, but it takes several additional interactions to change someone’s bad impression of us.  A proper introduction is an excellent way for you to teach your child to make a good first and lasting impression every time. 


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