How to Introduce Yourself
People quickly form strong opinions based on first impressions and that is why a well-crafted, strong, self-introduction is a critical part of making a good first impression. First impressions are very difficult change, so it is best when introducing yourself to be confident, strong, and self-aware.
See below answers to this weeks ‘Public Speaker Pop Quiz’ answering the question of how to properly introduce yourself:
Start with a Name
First, if possible, all introductions should start with the name of the other person. Of course, in a letter or on online, that’s easy to do: Dear Ariana or Hi Daniela. In person, it’s tempting to start with your own name, but if you know the name of the other person, use his name first. In a group setting, you can just say: ¨Hi, everyone!¨
Once you’ve said your greeting, then you should say your name. In fact, in a professional setting, it’s important to say your name twice. It’s also a good habit to slow down and say your name clearly. For example, “Hi Jane, I’m Lisa, Lisa Marshall.” Depending on the setting you may also want to include your title, your company, or appropriate context.
“Hi Mary, I’m Lisa, Lisa Marshall. I’m one of the speakers today. It’s great to meet you, Mary.
Notice, you’ll want to say the name of the other person twice as well. That will help you to remember her name and it shows your interest in her.
Communicate Proper Body Language
As you are saying these initial words, remember that the majority of your impact will come from your tone of voice and body language. Of course, with all introductions you’ll want to communicate enthusiasm by smiling, using direct eye contact, and speaking with an upbeat, positive tone of voice. In a business setting, you’ll likely also include a handshake.
You’ll want a firm, full-handed, web-to-web, handshake. Be sure to listen to my previous episode on effective handshaking and be sure to test your handshake on several folks before important introductions such as job interviews.
Along with a confident handshake, you’ll also need to walk and stand with confidence. That means walking slightly faster than normal, with your shoulders back. I always like to imagine someone pouring cold water down my back because this mental image helps me to move faster and keep the right posture. Your goal is confidence but not over-confidence (that’s just intimidating and off-putting). And remember, fresh breath is important. Always carry mints with you.
Build a Rapport through Common Ground
Next, an important part of any introduction is to consider your audience. Who exactly are you introducing yourself to? What will they find interesting and compelling? What can you share that might help to quickly build common ground and help you make a connection?
The goal is to establish common ground and make a connection. It can be anything that you are both interested in. It doesn’t have to be school or business related. It doesn’t even have to be of great importance. Just be sure to start with “safe” obvious links and avoid controversial topics.
“Hi, Mary, I’m Lisa, Lisa Marshall. It’s great to meet you Mary. I’m a communication specialist and I’m also one of the speakers today. I’d love to hear who you thought was the best speaker so far?
Be Brief and Conversational
Notice that self-introductions should be short and conversational. After sharing very briefly about yourself, you then ask a question that helps lead your partner into a conversation. (The exception of course, is in an interview setting, where it’s best to let your interviewer lead the conversation).
It’s possible to be conversational even in writing–again by asking questions. In the letter from the principal to my girls, she encouraged them to write her back by asking them what they liked to eat and do during the summer.
Focus on Three Things Only
When the introduction details are your choice, I recommend picking three things that you think others in the group might be able relate to. Again, the idea is to build rapport. By choosing just three things, your introduction will be more memorable. In addition, you can expand and contract the length of your response by providing examples or details for each of your chosen three things.
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