Introductions: Drawing a blank at exactly the wrong time

by EPI Staff on April 17, 2009

Q: I had to introduce someone last week, but I couldn’t remember her name. It was so embarrassing. I felt like a jerk. What should I have done?

A: We’ve all been there—that awkward moment of making an introduction when you can’t remember a name. There is nothing you can do but admit that you’ve succumbed to a “senior moment.” Don’t stand there and make no attempt to introduce the people. Say “I’m so embarrassed, but I’ve completely forgotten your name.” If you are on the receiving end of this business, one of the kindest gestures you can make when you see that panicked expression cross someone’s face (“Oh no! I can’t remember her name!”) is to extend your hand and say, “Hello, I’m Daniel Post Senning. It’s so nice to meet you.” You’ve taken the other person off the spot and probably made a friend for life.

For more on dealing with difficult conversations, check out Peggy Post’s “Excuse Me, But I Was Next…”.

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