How to Greet Someone

Three Methods:Informally, to Somebody You Don't KnowFormally, By Way of IntroductionFormally, By Way of Introduction in a Business Setting

Whether at school, with friends, or in business, greeting people is an everyday occurrence and is an important skill to master. Here are some easy steps on how to greet the people you meet in a sincere and open way.

Method 1
Informally, to Somebody You Don't Know

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    Approach the person. It is important to walk confidently and wear a smile. Sneaking up is kind of creepy, and it may come off wrong.
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    Make eye contact before greeting. When you've established eye contact approach and say something simple, like "Hey, How are you?".
    • Keep it simple. try not to ask about too personal things such as past relationships, loves ones passing away, or emotional topics.
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    Wait until they acknowledge you. When they say "hi" back to you, smile and introduce yourself.
    • You might also add how you know them, or how they might know you. For example, "Hi, I'm Johnny. We were in film class together last semester." This helps avoid embarrassing situations or that awkward silence when they don't remember you.
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    Start a conversation. Presumably you would like to get to know this person to whom you've just introduced yourself. If you have something in common, talk about that. You could say, "Are you still a fan of Richard Linklater," or "I'd love to talk with you for a few minutes, why don't we get out of this hailstorm!"
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    Follow their lead. If they look at you strangely and hurry away, don't chase them. Not only is it kind of creepy, it could get you into trouble. If they smile and start talking with you, congratulations, you've successfully greeted somebody and made a new friend, too!

Method 2
Formally, By Way of Introduction

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    Mind your manners. The polite way of greeting somebody you have just been introduced to is to say, "Good evening, Jessi. It is nice to meet you."
    • Offer to shake their hand, and when accepted, use a firm but not crushing grip.
    • Ask, "How are you?" This helps break the ice, and gives them an opportunity to greet you as well. Just remember that invariably, when asked how they are doing, people will say "fine" no matter what's going on in their lives for real. Be prepared to move on to the next topic. Notice something about them, what they're wearing, or if your host has indicated what your new acquaintance does, talk about that.
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    Find small talk topics to get started. To continue the conversation, you can also make small talk about the weather, family, how far you traveled, where a good spot for lunch might be, and other topics of general interest. Don't try to impress. Simply be affable, personable, and approachable. Keep it simple.
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    Be aware. If the person you are talking to is constantly looking over their shoulder, or checking their watch, it's a pretty good sign they're not interested in the conversation. Gracefully excuse yourself, and go refresh your drink.

Method 3
Formally, By Way of Introduction in a Business Setting

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    Be confident. Greet your new acquaintance in a friendly but professional manner.
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    Be aware of hierarchy. If you are greeting a colleague or peer, you can be more informal. "Hi, Dan, it's a pleasure to meet you. I've heard great things about you, and am looking forward to working with you."
    • If you are meeting somebody much higher up in the food chain or an honoured and respected member of the community, consider an honorific rather than their first name. "Hi, Mr. Campbell. It's a pleasure to meet you," is much more professional and will make a much better lasting impression than saying, "Hi, Bill. How's it hangin'?"
    • Consider greeting somebody at a much more junior level than you, in the same way. "Hello, Mr. Crawford. It's a pleasure to meet you," carries with it the expectation that they will keep a professional attitude in their dealings with you.
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    Speak briefly about the business at hand, and move on. Nobody likes being pigeon-holed into a conversation they can't get out of, and it's especially important in a business setting. You don't want to have the reputation of somebody that doesn't know when to be quiet!


  • Always have a smile and speak clearly. Most importantly, look them right in the eye. This will make the other person feel as if you're really paying attention to them.
  • If you don't know the person's name, say, "nice to meet you" or, "nice to see you again.”
  • If you are greeting an adult, smile politely and say hello.
  • Or, you can ask them politely, by saying, "It is good to see you again; unfortunately, I have forgotten your name." It may seem a touch impolite, but it is a lot better than saying the wrong name.


  • If the other person asks how you are first, it is considered polite to answer and ask back.
  • Don't approach someone who does not want to be approached (watch their body language towards you).
  • Don't be overconfident as it is off-putting.
  • Keep in mind that greetings vary by culture. While the generic Western conventions have become widespread enough that a hand offered for shaking will not be misinterpreted, be careful of the more subtle differences. For example, in Asia people draw a different line between eye contact and staring.

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Categories: Courteous Presentation