What Happened to the Art of the Introduction?

Let’s face it. At some point in the development of our society, we lost the ability to introduce ourselves to one another. I was not alive when this loss occurred, so I do not have firsthand knowledge of when this happened. I am not a sociologist, so I do not have the research fundraising skills to figure out why this occurred. I am not suggesting that our ancestors excelled at introducing themselves and that this ability mysteriously eroded over time. It does seem, however, that the attention we pay on introducing ourselves to one another peaked at some point in the past. Perhaps you can imagine the following “moments of introduction” throughout history.

Circa 1,000,000 B.C.

Grog: “Ugga.”
Sura: “Yug.”

Circa 1910

Gregory: “Good afternoon. My name is Gregory Van Pelt. It is a pleasure to meet you. Lovely day, is it not?”
Suzanne: “Good afternoon, Mr. Van Pelt. My name is Suzanne Rockefeller. The pleasure is all mine, I am sure. It is quite the lovely day.”

Circa 2015

Greg: “What up.”
Sue: “Yo.”

What happened? Is it the head-spinning advances in technology, growing networks of global economies, and changing workplace demographics that we discussed in the introduction of this book? While I do not know the answer, I do know that the degradation in your ability to introduce yourself is causing you to miss an opportunity to make a strong first impression. You are more likely to say good morning to Siri than to a colleague. John Clancy, President of Radius Worldwide, a global software services company, understands the importance of a strong first impression. John has held a number of senior leadership roles throughout his career and has met hundreds of new colleagues, investors, and customers along the way. “I can’t stress enough the importance of the first few seconds you have when meeting a new person. With a strong introduction, you have the opportunity to create a connection that provides you a surplus of goodwill. No one wants to start a relationship in a deficit, which takes even more effort to turnaround. Making a good first impression is critical to laying a strong foundation for future interaction.”

Ed Evarts is the founder and president of Excellius Leadership Development, an organization focused on coaching mid- to senior- level leaders and their teams in business environments. With over twenty-five years of innovative leadership and management experience, Ed possesses the ability to build awareness, create action, and deliver results. Known for his business acumen, his ability to resolve complex human relations issues, and his enthusiastic, accessible and responsive style, Ed partners with managers, leaders and business teams to explore clarity and communication, and traverse conflict and change.