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September 26, 2005

Business English Etiquette

A student posted the following question on www.bylingo.com recently:

“One basic question, we normally don't put "san" after the names when we introduce our colleagues to the clients in Japan. Do you use Mr. or Mrs. when you introduce your colleagues in English?”
This is a great question because it addresses the cultural nuances involved in the use of language. Basically, there is no correct answer to this question. As business changes so do business practices. Some industries, IT for example, take a very casual approach to business interactions. So in this case colleagues may be introduced by their first names only.

I think a safe standard to follow is to introduce your colleagues by their full names and position in the company. If you are introducing your supervisor or superior to a client or customer, always introduce them the first time with Mr. / Mrs. Followed by their full names and their position in the company.

Keep in mind many people feel more relaxed when they are on a first name basis with other people. I recommend being professional the first time introductions are made, and after a couple of meetings it’s probably ok for everyone to use first names only.

Thanks for the question!

If anyone has any comments please feel free to post them.

Posted by Kent at September 26, 2005 4:27 PM

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