Event Etiquette: How to Introduce State and City Officials and In What Order?
by Robert Hickey
Monday, January 16, 2012


Dear Mr. Hickey,

I am involved in fund raising for a non-profit charity. We have a fundraiser on Saturday, November 7th. I expect several Washington State Representatives, The mayor of our city, and several city council members to attend. I need help on the order of introduction as well as the titles to use for each category. All are elected to office but I don't want to repeat The Honorable over and over.

Please suggest order and best title to use for each official.

-- Charles Kolkaski, In the State of Washington

Dear Mr. Kolakaski:

The order of introduction is determined by precedence.

  1. Rank your list by their office --- high to low.
  2. When there is more than one official of the same "rank" -- order them within their category. For elected officials ranking is by length of service in that office. These politicians WILL know their relative ranking (and it's important to them) just like when you go into a market and take a number: You know who was there when you walked in the door, and you know who came after you. You can find the date they were elected in their biographies on the state and city websites.
  3. Officials in their jurisdiction have higher precedence than those out of their jurisdiction: e.g., the mayor of a city has the highest precedence in his or her town. A state representative in his or her jurisdiction is higher than other representatives out of their jurisdictions.... etc.

Making the introductions:

Even if you get tired of saying "The Honorable" over and over your elected guests will not! Introduce each correctly ... everyone is entitled to their rank and name. So those entitled to "The Honorable" should get it. Doing so makes you knowledgeable and your organization look good. Best of all for a non-profit organization -- saying their names and titles correctly is absolutely free. The formula is:

  1.    (The Honorable) + (full name) Example:The Honorable, Charles Kolakaski
  2.    Then the position they hold: Member of the Washington State House or House Member for the 20th District or Member for the 20th District to the Washington State House of Representatives

You get the idea.

--Robert Hickey

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