Today I wanted to share a very powerful tool I use in my kids martial arts classes every day. The polite introduction is a fantastic tool to help improve your child’s confidence because it gives them a specific script to follow so they do not feel as nervous or get stuck not knowing what to do next.
You can either listen to my podcast or read the article below to learn how to do this and introduce it to your child.
Here is the link to the Podcast Episode: http://dennystrecker.libsyn.com/polite-introduction-episode-04
Here is the podcast transcript:
I want to welcome you to our Message of the Week program. I’m excited to get you guys started, and I figured we’d just start right at the very top and one of the first skills, and probably one of the most important skills, that I think I teach the kids, and that’s the polite introduction. The polite introduction serves a whole host of benefits to kids, whether they’re receiving it or giving it. If your child is shy and timid, they’re going to have a little tougher time, so this is going to bring them up in the confidence level. If your child’s already super confident, it’s going to give them that tool that’s going to make them even more confident or better. I guess maybe they don’t need more confidence, but better confidence to be able to engage with people on a social level.
So we have, basically, five principles that we use in the polite greeting. First thing is we make good eye contact. What this does is it teaches the child to make sure that you wait until the person’s ready to speak to you. What we’ll see on occasion is the kids will just come walking up and start blurting out the hello and greeting, and it kind of takes you aback. It’s a little bit shocking. So we want to make sure we make good eye contact first. After that, we want to smile. A good smile on our face lets the person know, hey, we’re friendly, and we’re going to approach. Sometimes we get caught in our day or wrapped up in what we’re thinking, and we don’t really realize that you could have just a scowl on your face or just a mean look. So we really want to make sure that we tell the kids actively smile.
Third step is going to be shaking hands. We don’t want a dead fish, a really weak hand, but at the same time, we tell the kids, we don’t want that death grip. We don’t have a problem toomuch with the death grip. Maybe 1 out of 25, 30 kids will try it, so we set the boundaries before they even start. No death grip. No dead fish. A good, firm handshake. Now that we’ve made that engagement, the person’s ready for us, now we do the introduction. We say, “Hi. My name is,” and you tell them your first name. Naturally, at this point, the second question’s going to be, “What’s your name?” Now, in my particular situation in the karate classes, I have the kids introduce themselves to the parent who are hee for that particular class, so it might be three. It might be 25 parents in one session. So the idea is to make sure we’re following each of these steps, and when the parents introduce themselves back to the kids, we always go back last names.
That’s one of the things that I see. Talking to educators or sometimes counselors, teachers, and occasionally just parents, you think, well, my last name has too many syllables. It’s too hard for the kids to pronounce. I say hogwash. Kids are smart. If we set the bar high and we set expectations, they’re going to meet them. Whether your name is two syllables or five syllables is irrelevant. They just need to practice it a little bit more. We don’t settle for mediocre. We don’t dumb down what we expect. We set the bar, and we’re going to practice it until we get there. So that’s just kind of a side note about using your last names when you’re introducing. It’s also kind of a dead art form. If you talk to our grandparents and generations before, it was a given. You never used anybody’s first name unless you were really good friends. So it’s a good show or sign of respect, and I think it’s important. That’s why we do it here at the karate school.
So we’ve looked them in the eye. We’ve smiled. We’re shaking with the right hand. We’ve said, “Hi, my name is. What’s your name?” Now, the next step is we say, “Well, I’m glad to meet you,” and you use the person’s name back. This naturally shows that the person was listening and is able to respond back and carry a conversation and they’re not just kind of blurting out words and then taking off. That’s, a lot of times, where the kids start, right? This is brand new to them, and that’s not a problem. To really get this down to where we want it, we want to have that actual interaction and conversation between the two people. So this is going to help all kids, whether your child is shy and introverted or timid. It’s going to bring them up and give them a little bit more confidence. If your child is already super confident, well, this is going to give them a tool that’s going to even help make them more successful when they go to get jobs at a job interview, college interviews, or just any time they’re meeting somebody important, doing a polite introduction is great.
The final note on this is just like any block, punch, kick, anything physical in the martial arts, this requires practice. To me, it doesn’t matter if you do it with the same person every day or you do it with somebody different every day, the point is to practice. If you meet your school teacher, if you drop your child off, you do your polite introduction. If you have grandma coming over and watching the kids, you do your polite introduction. Doesn’t matter who it is. It’s just a matter to make sure that we practice it as much as possible and give positive feedback on what you liked. That’s, I guess, a side little second note for you guys. Ignore the negative. The kids are going to do things not super well, right? Notice I didn’t say wrong. Not super well. It’s a new skill. It’s going to take them a while to learn it. So we pick out the thing or things that we liked, and we tell the kids that. Then, we correct the other things a little bit later on.
All right? So, to wrap it up, sorry, a proper, polite introduction. Make sure we make good eye contact. Once we have eye contact with the person we want to speak with, make sure we smile. We’ve got to be friendly. Put out our right hand and make sure we have a firm handshake. No dead fish, no death grip. Then, we introduce, “Hi, my name is. What’s your name?” and, “I’m pleased to meet you,” and use the person’s name back. I hope that’s a great tip for you guys. If you have anything specific that hits home for you, please feel free to email me in. I’ve got a couple pages of notes to get through, so excited, and I’ll talk to you next week.