What are different ways I can write a dialogue where a character is introducing himself to a woman in a professional setting?

I don't want to write explicitly like this,

"Hello Miss Emily, my name is Dr.Alfred Miller, I am the professor of Physics here at the university."


In my novel, my protagonist is a saleswoman in a technology company and she is in the office of professor Alfred Miller. Her company has already sealed the deal with the university about the tech product. She is here to get the details of Professor's requirement. She arrives in the office of professor with a mutual friend they have, Susan. I have written the following dialogue, the next line is when the Prof introduces himself.

“Hey Alfred, good morning.”

“Hey morning Sue, how are you?”

“I am good, thanks, meet my colleague Emily.”

“Hello Emily, ...he introduces himself.”

closed as off-topic by Ash, Totumus Maximus, user32282, Secespitus, Ken Mohnkern Aug 6 '18 at 16:52

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  • 1
    Before I give an official answer, is there a reason why you mention that he's introducing himself to a woman? Not saying there aren't reasons why the context would change, but at the moment the question's vague and it's unclear why introducing himself to a woman has anything to do with it. If you can, elaborate a little. – Matthew Dave Aug 6 '18 at 14:08
  • @MatthewDave thankyou for the quick reply, I edited the question to give the details. T – user30875 Aug 6 '18 at 14:15
  • In the real world, Emily would know whom she was supposed to meet. He would just give his name so she knows he's the one. – user32282 Aug 6 '18 at 14:20
  • @FredBob ahh no...in my story she knows his name but she knows nothing about him prior to getting in his office with her friend as she had only corresponded with the university for sales... – user30875 Aug 6 '18 at 14:22
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    This looks like a request for "What should I write?", which is off-topic on Writing.SE. As such I am voting to put this question on hold until it's clarified how this question is supposed to be about a generic process related to the craft of Writing instead of giving you advice you like and can copy-paste into your work. – Secespitus Aug 6 '18 at 14:58

Speaking as a professor (with a PhD), I would introduce myself, to a friend of a friend, by my first name. As an aside, a saleswoman should not be introduced as "a colleague" in a university setting, a colleague is somebody of similar rank, and in this setting implies a PhD. That is certainly what I think when anybody is introduced as "a colleague." Susan should introduce her as a "friend". Also, unless this is a VERY small college, it has multiple professors of physics, so "I am THE professor of physics" is inappropriate, "I am A professor physics" is what he would say. If you want some prestige, make him "THE Department Head", that is singular and suggests experience and seniority (without being so high up that he is more managerial / administrative than practical).

"Hi Emily, I'm Alfred. Dr. Miller if we are being formal."

"Oh, are you a teacher here?"

"I'm the Physics Department Head, that takes up most of my time so I'm exempt from teaching classes, but I do have three students working on my research projects. What has you two wandering the halls?"

Something like that.


I think, at this point, the introduction (beyond polite formalities) might not be necessary. If the business deal or whatever has already been agreed upon (and they're just meeting to fine tune the details in a professional business meeting) then both parties are (externally) aware of the other and their goals for the meeting. Formal, lengthy introductions would just be clunky (which, I'm guessing, is why you dont want to write them.)


At the moment, your suggested dialogue is very dry. Every piece of dialogue should ideally serve one of two purposes:

1: Move the plot forward.

2: Expose something about a character/their relationship with a character.

A good example of economic usage of a greeting to establish something about characters immediately are the sheepdogs from the looney tunes.

Every day, one punches in to their sheepdog job while the other punches out. They curtly say to each other:

"Morning, Sam."

"Morning, Ralph."

This summarises both their relationship to each other (they cover each other's off shifts) and their role (punch-clock sheepdogs who have as much apathy for their jobs as human punch-clock workers).

Think about what this greeting or introduction is trying to achieve. If it's literally just a polite greeting with no caveats or additional meaning, reconsider having it as a dialogue exchange at all; it could easily be summarised with 'Dr Alfred gave Emily the same milquetoast greeting he gave everyone else', or words to that effect.