Introducing yourself shouldn’t be something you dread. Learn a 3-point self-introduction framework (not a script!) plus 4 general tips for introducing yourself effectively. Introducing yourself is a rare opportunity to highlight your personal brand!
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- Episode Transcript
3 Point Self-Introduction Framework
- Establish who you are
- Your opportunity to highlight your expertise or your passion
- “My name is _____and I am_________.”
- Highlight your relevant experience
- Your opportunity to establish credibility
- Previously I ___ (worked as…, led the…, earned my…)_”
- Ideally an immediate future statement
- Your opportunity to express enthusiasm for what’s next.
- “I’m looking forward to_(learning more…, kicking off…, working together…)__”
General Tips for Introducing Yourself
- Expressions of enthusiasm lead to positive outcomes. Start with a smile and eye contact.
- In your FUTURE statement, mention your passion. In your concluding PAST statement, express your enthusiasm for why you’re there.
- You have many things you could say about yourself. Consider your audience. Focus on what’s important for them to know and what they might care about.
- Think of this as filtering what you say, depending on the context.
- Keep it brief. Don’t be “that guy” who rambles on about himself, taking up way more than his fair-share of airtime.
- Shorter is better. Afraid they might want more? Let them ask Qs, or you could say “happy to talk more about that offline.”
Your Personal Brand
- Your Personal Brand is “what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” While many of us dread round-screen or round table introductions, they provide a rare opportunity to create or reinforce what we want people to know about us!
- Ask yourself, what elements of your Personal Brand (unique passions, expertise) do you want people to remember about you?
Dr. Andrea Wojnicki & Talk About Talk
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You probably know the scenario. It could be in an online meeting, or perhaps you’re seated around a boardroom table. The meeting leader askes everyone to briefly introduce themselves, talk about their background. Suddenly your brain goes into hyperdrive.
- What should I say?
- Should I try to say something clever?
- How long should I talk?
- And then, you realize you’re not even listening to one word that anyone else is sharing?
- When’s it going to be my turn?
- Oh! it’s my turn.
I’m Andrea so nice to meet you. My expertise, my passion is COMMUNICATION. Im the founder of “Talk About Talk,” a learning platform focused on communication skills, where I coach ambitious professionals to catapult their careers by improving their communication skills and their confidence. I earned my doctoral degree from HBS, where my dissertation research focused on consumer psychology, interpersonal communication, and word-of-mouth. Yes, I’m obsessed with communication.
It’s SO NICE to meet you. I can’t wait to learn more about you, and I’m excited to talk about introductions!!
How’s THAT for an introduction?
Greetings and welcome to Talk About Talk episode number 86, focusing on INTRODUCTIONS!
I’m your communication coach, Dr. Andrea Wojnicki (please call me Andrea!). I ‘m so delighted you’re here! Whether you’re an ambitious executive, as I said in my introduction, or perhaps you have a growth mindset. Or perhaps both? If this sounds like you, then, well, you’re in the right place. I hope you’ll check out the TAT.com website, where you’ll find online courses, tip sheets, corporate workshops, one-on-one coaching, the archive of this bi-weekly podcast, AND, the free weekly communication skills training newsletter.
As I said, in this episode, we’re focusing on INTRODUCTIONS! This is the first of two episodes focused on Introductions. In this episode, #86, we focus on how to introduce yourself. Kind of like I did at the beginning of this episode. In the next episode, #87, you’ll learn how to introduce someone else (for example, if you’re introducing someone to a group, or if someone’s making a keynote presentation and you’re introducing them to the audience), AND you’ll ALSO learn how to elegantly and effectively introduce two people to each other. (You know, when you’re introducing two people online or perhaps at a cocktail party or a dinner party.) For all of these contexts, I’m going to provide you with do’s and don’ts. And I’m going to help you a little bit with scripting. You’ll be a pro at INTRODUCTIONS after these two episodes – I promise!
And you know INTRODUCTIONS are important, right?
YOU KNOW what they say:
“You never get a second chance to make a first impression.”
“A first impression is a lasting impression!”
Yep, these are cliches. But cliches exist for a reason.
It’s SO true. An effective introduction can help you immensely.
An ineffective introduction can leave a lasting, negative impression.
The good news is that this skill – INTRODUCTIONS – can certainly be learned.
Let’s get into this. As always, you don’t need to take notes, because I do that for you. I summarize everything for you at the end of the episode. And you can always access the printable episode shownotes on the talkabouttalk.com website. So just keep doing whatever you’re doing – driving or walking or housework, or whatever. Perhaps you’re chilling out on the couch! Regardless of what you’re doing, you don’t need to take notes because I do that for you.
Are you ready? Ok let me start with this. There’s a reason why many of our meetings start with round-table (or round-screen!) introduction. Introductions, all else equal, are a very good thing. Why? Well,
- Of course, it helps if everyone knows each other’s names and affiliations. You can be more productive when you know more about other people.
- Second back to those cliches about first impressions. Introductions provide you with the chance to make a positive first impression! We talk a lot about personal branding here at Talk About Talk. Introducing yourself is the ideal opportunity to establish that PB in a way that you control. You’re explicitly telling people exactly what you want them to know about you.
- Third, Introductions also get everyone warmed-up to participate in meetings. There are a couple of interesting reasons why this is the case:
- People pay attention when they hear their name. And names are more likely to be used if introductions are made.
- Research shows that when people are interactive, specifically when they TALK early in a meeting, they’re more likely to stay engaged for the duration of the meeting. So if you’re running a meeting, try to make it your default to kick it off with introductions. Of course, this will depend on the number of people and how well they know each other. But kicking off a meeting with introductions will keep people more engaged for the entire meeting.
So we get it. Introductions are important. They provide you with an opportunity to get to know people and to share information about yourself, your personal brand, to make a positive impression.
That all said, I don’t know about you. But I’ve been talking to a lot of executives lately who really, truly dread this scenario. The person who’s leading the meeting says “let’s take a moment to briefly introduce ourselves. I’ll go first…” and your head starts spinning!
- For example, I‘ve heard plenty of stories about people getting tongue-tied when they’re introducing themselves.
- I’ve also heard many, many stories about people getting distracted by “that guy “ whose self-introduction lasts 5 minutes. What the heck is that all about? There’s 10 people here, the meeting is 60 minutes, and he just talked about himself for 10 minutes. Did he do that math? Maybe not. Or maybe he just thinks he’s that important. It’s selfish, it’s distracting, it’s annoying and it’s counterproductive.
- And I’ve heard stories about people regretting that they said too much or maybe too little. They missed an opportunity to mention something that in retrospect, they should’ve said.
- Does any of this sound familiar?
Ugh. I’ve been there too, trust me, but I’ve also learned some tips and a really effective script – or framework – that I promise is going to help you.
OK, first the framework.
I’m want to share this first, because frankly, I’m so excited. This script is deceptively simple, and it works!!!
It’s three points, so it’s also easy to remember. It’s
It’s not a script, it’s a framework. You won’t sound scripted. You can customize this depending on your context. You just need to fill in three things:
You may’ve noticed this isn’t quite chronological. Did you catch that? It’s NOT Past, present future. You start with PRESENT tense, then past , then future.
SO first, a Present tense statement to introduce yourself. Something like this (cough cough)
Hi, I’m Andrea Wojnicki and I’m a communication coach at talk about talk. My expertise, my passion, is communication.
You establishing something about yourself in the present tense. Of course, whatever that sentence is will vary depending on the context and on the audience around you. We’ll get into that in a minute.
The second point is past tense. Here’s where you can add one or two or maybe three points that’ll provide people with context. Or maybe these points can help you establish credibility with an audience.
For example, for ME, these points could be:
- how I started Talk about Talk three years ago.
- The fact that I earned my doctorate from Harvard Business School, where my dissertation research focused on interpersonal communication.
- And then, again, depending on the context, I can talk about other work experience, or perhaps something personal, like the fact that I’m an extreme extrovert, or my hobby of painting, or maybe something about my family.
This second point, PAST is about relevant context and credibility.
The 3rd and last point in this framework is future oriented. Typically, and perhaps ideally, it’s the immediate future:
- so if you’re in a meeting, you could express enthusiasm for whatever the meetings about.
- Or if you’re kicking off a new project or engagement with a new team you could talk about how excited you are or your goals for the project.
- If you’re in a job interview, you could say “I’m excited about opportunities at this firm and eager to learn more.”
- Or if you’re hosting a podcast episode, you could mention why you’re excited about the topi and what listeners will learn.
SO you close your introduction with a brief, relevant future statement. And ideally it’s an ‘expression of enthusiasm.’ You’ll hear that term again in a few minutes “expression of enthusiasm.”
And that’s it for the script or the framework. Elegantly simple, right? The next time you’re in a meeting and everyone’s asked to introduce yourself, just think “Present, past, future” and fill in the blanks. I PROMISE it works. Please please please email me at [email protected] and tell me how it goes.
Of course, what we mention within that framework and how we say it will make a big difference. SO I have an four specific suggestions to keep in mind when you’re introducing yourself:
Enthusiasm, Personal Branding, Context, and precision.
- This is an easy place to start, right? Here’s what you do. The self-introductions start going around the table or around the screen. You remind yourself of the present-past-future framework, then you SMILE. Not only will this release endorphins in your own blood, but it will signal enthusiasm. And the research shows that expressions of enthusiasm lead to positive outcomes. Thanks to my friend negotiations expert Tatiana Astray for that one. So start with a smile and eye contact.
- If you’re not sure what to say first, start with your passion. What are you obsessed with? What’s your expertise? What are you enthusiastic about? I sometimes LITERALLY use the word passion. I’ll say something like “Im Andrea, and my expertise, my PASSION is communication.”
- Then, as I just mentioned, you can End your self-introductions with your enthusiasm for what’s coming up. Your FUTURE statement. It could be your enthusiasm for a meeting, a project or engagement, the topic of the podcast episode, whatever.
- Got it? The first tip is BE ENTHUSIASTIC. The second tip is to consider your
- Context – Consider your Audience – be empathetic. Consider what’s important for them to know and what they might care about. Think of this as filtering what you say – depending on the person and the context. You have a lot things to share about yourself. As my friend Tom Megginson, the adverting copy strategist I met on LinkedIn suggests, FILTER, yes FILTER what you share about yourself based on the context. It’s not about changing who you are. It’s about filtering what parts of ur identity are relevant for this context. I love that! So we’ve covered enthusiasm and context. The third tip for introducing yourself? PRECISION. As in KEEP IT SHORT.
- Brief, Short, Precision – “Keeping it short is relative, right? But here’s the insight. – Shorter is better. Afraid they might want more? Let them ask Qs, or you could say “happy to talk more about that offline.” No one EVER criticized someone for making their introduction too brief. Think “heres the topline.” if they have a followup Q, they’ll ask. You could even say, happy to talk more about this, but lets move on ft the next person.“
- The alternative? Being too verbose? Those who take up way more than their fair share of airtime talking about THEMSELVES? Keep tt short and precise. There will be lots of opportunities for more detail later.
- SO that’s the third tip. Keep it short. We need to be enthusiastic, we need to consider our audience and context, and we need keep it short. The 4th and last tip? Its about leveraging your personal brand.
- Personal brand – Here’s the thing. Many of us dread the round-screen or round table introductions. BUT – THIS is a unique and rare opportunity for you to create or reinforce what you want people to know about you – your personal brand.
- The meeting leader suggests that everyone introduce themselves. Instead of DREADING this, ask yourself, what part of my PB do I want to communicate?
- Much of our personal brand is communicated impoliticly. This is your chance to say the words that you want people to remember about you.
- Ask yourself, what expertise, what experiences – credentials do you want people to know and remember about you?
It turns out that being asked to introduce yourself. Is not something to dread. But actually an opportunity to communicate the things to the people in the room that you want them to know about you, . You can be very strategic and purposeful about this.
OK, so that’s it for the first episode on Introductions how to introduce yourself. We have the three point framework on how to introduce yourself there’s. Present. Past and future. And then we have the four tips to keep in mind. Enthusiasm. Context. Precision. And your personal brand.
Here’s my sincere hope. What I’m truly hoping you’re going to get out of this. The next time you’re in a meeting and someone says. Let’s go around the table and introduce ourselves. You’re not going to dread it, but instead you’re going to think this is a fantastic opportunity to share my PB. Take a slow dep breath, and think PRESENT, PAST, FUTURE. Then smile, and demonstrate enthusiasm. YOU GOT THIS!
Alright, I hope you’ll let me know how it goes. Please email me at [email protected] or you can go to the talk about talk.com website. Click on contact and send me a message there.
While you’re on the website, I really hope you’ll sign up for the Talk About Talk newsletter! This is your chance to get free communication skills coaching from me every week in a simple to digest weekly email. Just go to talk abouttalk.com to sign up or email me directly and I’ll add you to the list. You can email me anytime at [email protected]. I’d love to talk!
THANKS for READING – and Talk soon!
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