Pay particular attention when introducing co-workers and clients, In a Manner of Speaking columnist Nora Cline says.

The setting: a significant business meeting at a high-end restaurant.

An important client and several of her co-workers are seated around the table. You and your boss introduce yourselves to the group. A natural anxiety distracts you and you forget names.

What do you do? As we all know, first impressions are important.

Acknowledging people is a basic essential of good social etiquette. When you greet someone, you acknowledge that person's presence. We do it so often on a day-to-day basis that we hardly even notice when we do it. It is
only when we fail to greet someone we know because of being preoccupied, distracted or forgetful, that this error could result in misunderstanding or hurt feelings. The purpose of an introduction is to share names and offer
a feeling of ease between strangers. Most introductions are casual and if you should make a mistake most people will not think much of it. However, if you are the host of a business dinner with the intent of making a
presentation to potential clients, it would be your responsibility as host to make the proper introductions. Forgetting or mispronouncing a person's name can be quite embarrassing.

To control this situation it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with names, correct pronunciations and titles before the meal. When you are making an introduction it is important to look at the person to whom you are
introducing. Just as important -- turning to the person to whom the other person is being introduced.

When introducing someone to a group it may be better to name the group members first. For example, "Mary, John, Patrick, I'd like to introduce Jill Smith." This way, if the group is chatting beforehand, the person doing the
introductions will get their attention easier. When you are being introduced be attentive and listen carefully to names. Concentrate on the name and try to cement it to your memory by using it. "It's nice to meet you, Mary" is a
good way to do this. If you didn't understand a name, simply ask saying, "I'm sorry, but I didn't get your last name." If you can't remember a name, don't get excited chalk it up to being human.

If you stumble, continue anyway. Hopefully the person will notice and will come to your rescue by introducing himself or herself. If the person is wearing a nametag and you can take a quick peek at it, do so. If not, apologize
by saying that you have suddenly forgotten their name and they will oblige.

If you are not sure how to pronounce a name it is perfectly acceptable to ask him or her to say it: "I would like you to meet our new human resources manager, Mary. Mary, would you please say your last name so I don't
mispronounce it." When you already have mispronounced a name you should know, apologize, but make a mental note to remember next time. If you use an incorrect title, the person or someone else at the table may make
the correction or inform you later. Doing your homework before the event will certainly help to reduce the chances of these common mistakes that many people encounter at one time or another in their social and
professional lives.


Nora Cline is the owner of Modern Manners www.modernmanners.biz in Powell.