You’ve been there before…in an event or meeting where you’ve been asked, “Please introduce yourself.” It’s really not a fair request, and if you’re caught off guard, you might feel put on the spot. Because where do you possibly begin, and most importantly, where do you end your introduction? On the one hand, you don’t want to come off as a rambling mess, talking about yourself so much that people wonder if you’re completely into yourself. Yet on the on the other hand, you don’t want to be so short, you come off as rude or antisocial.
So what do you do? In an ideal situation, you’ll be prepared for the vague request to introduce yourself.
Here are 5 Rules for Mastering Your Introduction and Owning Your Message
Rule #1: Be Yourself
The key to introducing yourself is just that: Tell people about YOU, not who you think you might want to be someday, but who are you today. Not who you think your competition is or what you think people want to hear. Just be yourself and tell your story with authenticity and people will genuinely be interested in the real you. Expert speaking coaches advise to always use your first and last name when you introduce yourself. So something like “Hello, I’m _____ (your first and last name here),” would be a great way to start your introduction – and remind you to be yourself.
Rule #2: Know Your Audience
Another key to owning your message is to speak directly to the very people you’re introducing yourself to. Before you enter any meeting or event, take a few minutes to research your audience and find out who’s going to be there. This will also help you ease any tension that may come from uncertainty, which will allow you to be more confident when you’re speaking. This is true whether you’re speaking to an individual or to a group. People love when you talk to them and not over there heads.
Rule #3: Keep It Short And Sweet
When you’re introducing yourself, the goal is to strike a balance between making it long enough so people know who you are and what you do, yet short enough to keep people’s attention. Depending on the setting, you’ll want to keep your intro to the amount of time allotted. If there is no time limit, make up a self-enforced one, and practice your intro until you master saying it within that time. For most people, having a one-minute introduction ready to share at all times will serve you well in most settings.
Rule #4: Enroll Your Audience
I know we said to introduce who you are, but don’t forget this one important point: People really don’t care about you, they care about themselves. So sorry to burst your bubble. But you can use this fact to your advantage. The next time you introduce yourself, try to enroll that person or group of people in your intro by sharing what you can do for them or how what you do helps them. You’ll get their attention, and depending on the occasion, you may even win a new client.
Rule #5: End With a Memorable Line
I started doing this recently, and I love the response I get. It gets people to start talking about me before they even know who I am. That’s what you want. You want people to remember you for something, which makes your introduction go way beyond the initial meeting.
Try This Example
Though it’s not the best intro I’ve ever shared, here’s one that I use quite often and it never fails to get people to start talking:
Hi, I’m Lane Jones. Happy wife, proud PANKY (Professional Aunt, No Kids Yet) to 11 nieces and nephews, and a Social Media Content Strategy Consultant by day. I primarily work with small business owners, nonprofits and ministries who want to make an impact on the web using powerful digital tools including their website and social media platforms. On any given day you can find me behind the screen of my Macbook Pro actively managing clients’ Social Media Campaigns or live tweeting during church and live events. Visit me on social media at Facebook.com/LaneJonesBiz for daily inspiration, motivation and practical tips for succeeding in digital marketing and in life.
The bits about “PANKY” and the “live tweeting” gets people talking and works every time. 😉
So tell us: Who are you? Please take a moment and introduce yourself in the comments. We’d love to get to connect with you. In fact, I’ll pull the best intro’s from the comments and feature you in an upcoming post. Go for it…