IN THE WORKPLACE Greetings and Introductions Awkward Situation: Not being able to attach a name to the face of the person approaching you. One Minute Solution: Simply extend your hand and say your first and last name. Better chance than not the person will mimic youwith his name, that is. However, if you definitely know the person and his name still escapes you, simply speak in general terms without using names. For example, you might say, "What's been going on since we last spoke?" General questions may trigger an answer that will bring the person's name to mind. Actions and getting to the point speak louder than a lot of jibberjabber. Rather than being labeled as a person who gives TMItoo much information (e.g., "I'm sorry, I'm so bad with names. I've forgotten your name. How do we know each other?")let your handshake and name be the cues that prompt the other person to greet you using his name. Handling The Unknown Awkward Situation: Wondering if you should say, "It's nice to meet you" or "It's nice to see you" when an individual greets you, making you feel as though he is a long lost friend. One Minute Solution: When you find yourself in this awkward situation, say, "It's nice to see you." Even though this person may be unfamiliar to you, this greeting will be perceived as warmer than "It's nice to meet you." "It's nice to meet you" also implies that this is the first time you are meeting this person. Oftentimes individuals may recognize you without you necessarily knowing them, especially if you are in a highly visible position. When you find yourself in this situation, remember it's not about you, it's about making the other person feel comfortable. Yes, Sir Awkward Situation: Being unsure of how to address individuals higher in rank than you. One Minute Solution: This varies widely based on the corporate environment. If you are being introduced to Mr. Smith, the CEO, for the first time, you should err on the side of conservative by responding, "It's nice to meet you, Mr. Smith." But on subsequent sightings of the CEO in the hallways, it is perfectly alright to say, "Good morning, how are you?" instead of the more formal "Good morning, Mr. Smith." Meeting and Greeting: Barry, Larry, or Garry? Awkward Situation: Having someone greet you using the wrong name. For example, "Larry, it's good to see you." One Minute Solution: Simply extend your hand and say your correct name: "Gary Smith. It's good to see you, too." By extending your hand and saying your name, you're accomplishing two things: (1) you're reciprocating the greeting, and (2) you're helping the misinformed person learn your name. By handling this faux pas in a diplomatic way, you're also sparing this person the embarrassment of calling you by the wrong name throughout the conversation. Making the Connection: Don't Make More of It Than It Is, or Move On Awkward Situation: Mistaking someone as a coworker's brother/roommate/friend only to learn that the person is his personal life partner. One Minute Solution: Don't make more of it than it is. Simply say, "It's nice to meet you" followed by a point of common interest and/or the environment in which the gathering is taking place. Nothing more, nothing less. In the future, avoid assuming otSabath, Ann Marie is the author of 'One Minute Manners Quick Solutions to the Most Awkward Situations You'll Ever Face at Work', published 2007 under ISBN 9780767923309 and ISBN 0767923308.