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Do you introduce yourself with flair?

Introducing yourself with flair. It may be something you haven’t consciously thought about, but delivering a striking self-introduction can create an amazing first impression and a lasting positive one.

Many opportunities present themselves that require a self-introduction, in our personal and professional lives. It regularly happens when we meet someone new, whether unexpectedly or expectedly, or in a casual or formal setting.

On a professional level, it’s smart to develop self-introduction skills and leverage them when needed. This includes during an interview, when meeting a new work colleague, when networking, when making a presentation and whenever you’re representing your organisation.

This week’s article shares tips and advice on the art of self-introduction in a work context and when you’re meeting someone new in person.

Smile. Get ready. Go.

Body language

Stand tall but comfortably, shake hands confidently (but not forcefully or for too long), smile, make direct eye contact, and apply a friendly tone.

Start with a simple ‘Hi, I’m [name] and it’s lovely to meet you.’

The goal here is to make a comfortable connection and start a conversation. Direct eye contact will show you’re engaged.

Introducing who you are

Keep your introduction short and sharp. You don’t want to come across as overbearing.

Be proactive. Don’t shake someone’s hand, say hello and then go quiet while the other person figures out what to do or say next.

After saying your name and greeting the person, add the next most relevant level of detail relating to your professional standing and purpose. This can vary depending on circumstances.

If you’re at a networking event, perhaps zero in on your role and where you work If you’re making a presentation, it’s a great idea to share some of your expertise to support you as a subject matter expert or authority. When in front of a potential client, you’re best to focus on products or services you’re promoting.

Networking examples

‘Hi, I’m John and I work at [company] as a Senior Manager. I’m at this networking event to meet and share management ideas with other like-minded professionals.’

‘Hi, I’m Jane. I’ve just graduated from [name] university with an MBA. I’m ready to kickstart my career in the exciting world of business.’

Read more

Networking: Worth the time and effort?

Presentation example

‘Good afternoon everyone, and welcome. I’m Sally and I’m presenting today’s seminar on [topic]. A bit about me …  I’ve been working in [specify] industry for [number] years and have been presenting professionally in this interesting and exciting space for over a decade. It’s great to be here.’

Interview example

Note: With a face-to-face interview, you won’t have to introduce your name, since the interviewers already know who you are.

‘Good morning and thank you for the opportunity to present myself today. I’m excited about this role and glad I was selected for interview.’

Marketing or sales example

‘Hi, I’m Jo and I’m a communications director at [name] company. We’re developing innovative ideas on how to streamline marketing campaigns to save money and I’m keen to explain how we can help your business save time and money.’

‘Hi, I’m Kate and I’ve just developed a new [specify] widget that helps customers cut through red tape and streamline their paperwork processes.’

Encouraging conversation with others

Before ending up in a lengthy speech about who you are and what you do, take time to bounce the conversation back to the person you’ve just met. This creates two-way communications and avoids (stale and boring) one-way communications.

State something as simple as ‘So, what do you do?’ or ‘What’s your story?’ or ‘Tell me about yourself.’

Mind the time

Once you’ve self-introduced and the conversation is flowing, remain conscious of time. For example, if you’re at a networking event, avoid locking  someone in to being with you, and you only. You want to ensure the person you’ve connected with remains free to mingle elsewhere … and you want to be free to meet other networkers too.

If the vibe is right, but it’s time to break free, provide the person you’ve just met with your contact details and ask if they’d like to catch up for a coffee.

It’s key to remember that some people you’ve just met may feel awkward cutting you off, so take the lead and manage your initial contact in the right way and at the right time.

Take time to prepare

Once off to a great start, you may find the conversation reaches deeper. The person you’ve just met may, for example, want to know a lot more about you.

Don’t position yourself so this catches you off guard. Take time to prepare, where relevant, so you have key messages you want to share front of mind. This will ensure you don’t stumble or wander or sound like you lack confidence.

This involves a bit of planning and even practicing, say with an ‘elevator pitch’.

Want to learn more?

How to avoid being over confident

Interview mistakes to avoid at all costs

How to interview like a professional

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