Sometimes my boss brings me to a meeting with other people who I don't know. When we arrived, the meeting just get started without introducing each other. My boss doesn't seem to bother about this fact that I am a unknown guy in the meeting, although the people know I am a subordinate of him.

Once I was asked who I am, after I answer him, the conversation was over and he didn't reveal his name.

Here we don't seem to have a culture of introducing each other before the meeting. Isn't it weird? You can't just ask their name one by one.

  • 4
    What is wrong with "Hi, What is your name?"
    – Donald
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 17:30
  • 1
    @Ramhound - I prefer "Hi I am Chad, I am the ___ on Manager X's team." But quite right a simple introduce yourself would seem to be in order. Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 21:05
  • I like @jdb1a1's answer below; in your specific example, after saying your name I would have added "and yours is? Sorry I don't know it already, I'm new here" or something similar, so that he was prompted to tell you his as well.
    – jcmeloni
    Commented Jun 25, 2012 at 22:15
  • Pretty sure you want to use a Death Note to go higher in the company, this would explain why you need this names so much.
    – sh5164
    Commented Apr 28, 2017 at 7:47

3 Answers 3


Ask your boss, but do it gradually. Don't hit him up for the entire list of people at the meeting right after the meeting, keep it to 1 or 2. If your boss is any good, s/he will pick up on the fact that you don't know who you are in the meetings with, and give you the full skinny, hopefully into the future as well. Ask something like:

"The guy sitting at the end who kept asking questions. What was his name, again? I never caught it."


If it is the first time you have met someone, it is perfectly acceptable to go up to them before the meeting and introduce yourself. It is also a good idea for your boss to introduce you when he starts bringing you to meetings and making sure that everyone introduces themselves to you. Since he didn't, he probably thought that you knew who all the people were which means they are probably relatively senior managers or people who work with your department frequently or he didn't know who they were either and didn't want to get embarrassed.

So now it is more embarassing that you don't know why they are and more awkward to ask. So first let this be a lesson to you, you should have spoken up at the first meeting.

Now you have several choices. First if there is someone else fairly junior at the meeting that you know (especially an admin assistant who is taking notes and almost certainly knows eveyone), you can throw yourself on their mercy and ask who everyone is.

It is best not to do this to anyone senior to you (As it is not terribly politically imporessive) unless you know them very well with the exception of your boss. As @jdb1a1 says, you can ask him after the meeting who was the guy who suggested this or who was opposed to that. Or when someone is talking, you can write him a note (if you are sitting next to him and if he isn't the kind who will be annoyed) and ask him who the person is.

Another way to figure out who is who is through meeting minutes if you have them. Take your own notes and describe the person who is saying something major and then compare those notes to what the meeting minutes say and you may find out who is who. Sometimes you will hear them called by their first name, then you can try to match that up to the who name on the meeting request.

Of course, you may know who all the players are from the meeting request or minutes but not associate faces to names. So take your list of names and find their offices and that way you can see who is who. If you see one of the people in the hall, you can go up to them (if the person doesn't look too busy or unapproachable or is standing outside a very senior manager's office) and say something like, "I'm Joe Smith. I saw you in the XYZ meeting and didn't catch your name." Then make some small talk about the meeting.


Why all that politic, not asking the superior?

The worst thing to do is to interupt the meeting, dominating the whole room by asking about names. Do it before or after the meeting, keep it casual and light. Maybe everyone felt like you after the meeting?

Just do it - ask, "throwing you at others's mercy" is not a loss, it's an action toward competence. I refuse to work and live in the dark.

I see it as a test of leadership, if he/she gets annoyed by my question/action, I'll quit as soon as possible, since it means that he/she are more interested in politic/facade than real work.

I may have zero social skills, but my work are of extremely high quality. :)

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