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An Introduction That Isn’t an Introduction

The other day I joined a small professional group, and the group leader sent an email introducing me to the other members. Here is the introduction:

“I am happy to introduce Lynn Gaertner-Johnston, who has joined our group.”

I expected to read on and see more words of introduction, but the group leader included just that one sentence. Essentially all he did was to give people my email address, which appeared on the To line.

You may not be surprised to learn that I was disappointed. I had hoped the leader would tell people a little about me so they would look forward to meeting me and working together.

When you introduce a new person by email, you can spark great new relationships if you share more than name and contact information. Consider adding these items about the new person:

  • Role in the group, or how the person will contribute
  • Reporting relationship (if the individual is an employee, to whom does he or she report?)
  • Relevant background, experience, skills, and education (choose one or more, depending on the situation)
  • A personal detail that brings the individual to life (for example, a hobby, an interest, or a personal accomplishment)

Here is a sample introduction of a new employee, from my book Business Writing With Heart: How to Build Great Work Relationships One Message at a Time:

Subject: Welcome Pat Nielsen to Sales

I am pleased to announce that Pat Nielsen will join the Sales group as Sales Assistant on Monday, April 11. Her role is to help us produce outstanding proposals, presentations, web demos, and related materials and events. She reports to Stephanie Brown.

Pat’s experience is a terrific fit for the job. She comes to us from XYZ Company, where she worked first in retail sales and then as a store event coordinator. Before working full-time, she earned her bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Washington. She loves to kayak, hike, and take nature photographs. She did all three on a recent trip to Maui.

If you are at headquarters, stop by Pat’s desk on the 4th floor and introduce yourself. You can also reach her at Ext. 2003 and

Bill Richards
Director of Sales

Do you agree that this type of introduction would be a great way to introduce and welcome Pat to the Sales group?


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By Lynn Gaertner-Johnston

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact.

A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors.

A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media.

Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English.

3 comments on “An Introduction That Isn’t an Introduction”

  • Maybe the person thought your fame precedes you, Lynn. 😉

    I agree with you. The person should have included something more about you.

    A question I keep in mind when sending an email is from the perspective of the reader, “So what?”

    We should attempt to answer that question for the reader. Except for recipients who may know you, I would say the sender fell way short on answering that question. 😉

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