How Do You Introduce Those You Value?

Someone one asked me where I get inspiration to write something every day, normally in my world a thought just pops in my head and it gets stuck so I start analyzing and out comes a blog. Today – a news story caught my eye. The Title was “Police: Pole-Wielding Grandma Hit Driver, Threatened Granddaughter”. This has sent my mind in a full tailspin!

First, I want to apologize to the granddaughter if her grandmother read my blogs about the “trophies-for-trying” generation and took it a few leaps too far. In the article, the woman told police that she was chasing her granddaughter because the granddaughter disrespected her and she was going to beat her with the pole. Alrighty then. In my father’s day I think it was a switch, in my day it was the belt, and now we’ve come to the pole? Wow.

That’s how the whole incident started, she was chasing her granddaughter to beat her with a pole for disrespecting her and in the chase her dog was hit by a car. I’m not making this up. The driver stopped to apologize and the grandmother hit him with the pole. She is facing battery charges. As you see, I have a lot to work with here, but I’m not going with the obvious, nope, I’m zeroed in on the “Grandmother” part. Seriously, that is the part that my mind is stuck on the most. Welcome to my world.

When I was younger, I was Tim and Linda’s daughter, or Steve’s little sister; then when I had my son I was Jake’s mom; at one point I was Jeff’s wife then Jeff’s ex-wife; Jesse, Jeffrey and Amanda’s step-mom; and Colby’s Aunt. I’ve held a lot of titles and the day my son becomes a father I will automatically be known as Grandma. For a woman, no matter her age or position in life once her offspring has a child she is Grandma and that is all anyone can focus on. The article didn’t say woman, it said grandma. By the way, Grandma is a bad word in my house. Had it been a man, it would have said man in the title, not grandpa. Men are afforded that courtesy. I am not sure why, but it is what it is.

So I started to think about how we introduce each other. I’m actually speaking about how we introduce ourselves next week at to a networking group so how timely is this article. Basically the article introduced this woman as grandma – and it’s gonna stick. From now on she is not just grandma, but the pole-wielding grandma to boot.

My ex-husband is one of my best friends. Throughout most of Jake’s school we attended every practice and game together. Being the more social of the two I would see people that I knew at these events and, being a polite person, I would always introduce him. I asked him one day how he would like me to introduce him as I had a couple of choices. He could have been Jake’s dad Jeff or my ex-husband Jeff. Yes, there was always a title. I did not want to disrespect him or his feelings in how I introduced him; however there was one sticky point with me.

We are divorced, we have been for over 10 years and no, there is not possibility of reconciliation. Why do people always ask me that? Anyway, we share the same last name and it is a natural assumption that as we are attending together, Jake’s parents and the same name that we are married. I did not want to give that impression so that is why the ex-husband option was in there. My point is I respected him enough to ask.

When I worked at McDonald Investments my team was the best. I loved every broker and assistant there, they were the best, perhaps a little dysfunctional, work family a girl could have. I was rarely introduced as my title, when one of my guys introduced me to their clients or associates they would introduce me as “the office keeper”, “the one that keeps us all in line” or I even heard “queen of all activity” once. I liked that one! In their own way they were showing respect for me by not introducing me as simply a title. It was a deep mutual respect that went both ways.

When you introduce a colleague, co-worker or assistant to a client or friend, how do you introduce them? Think about your introduction and what it is saying to all parties. If you introduce your assistant as simply “my assistant Mary” that is fine, I’m not saying you have to go overboard. However, if Mary is your business life-line and you value her greatly, try introducing her as her value, not her title. Maybe Mary is not aware of how much you truly value her, and this one simple gesture clearly communicates that for you.

My boss was not a guy for compliments, he was more of the “if you do a good job you should know it yourself and I don’t need to tell you” kinda guys. Which was fine for me, I’m not a live on compliments kinda girl. However, the day I knew how much my boss valued me was the day he introduced me to his boss, one of the big fish at corporate, and other corporate suits that had come in for a big meeting. He said he was the name on the office but I was the one who ran it and made sure everything was always in line. There was no bigger compliment and it was simply because he did not introduce me as his Ops Manager.

Think about the value of those around you. When you introduce them are you reinforcing that or sabotaging it in your communication? If you are not sure how to introduce them in a manner that truly reflects the value that they bring rather than their title – simply ask them how they would like to be introduced and explain that you think of them as more than a title. A little appreciation even in asking can go a long, long way.

Lisa K. McDonald, CPRW
Transition Strategist
Certified Professional Resume Writer
Career Polish, Inc.

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