Picture this. You’re at a meeting. Perhaps it’s a business-networking event. Or perhaps you’re at a professional association meeting. As things kick off, the host suggests, “Why don’t we go around the room and have everyone take a minute to introduce themselves.” What do you say?
Call it an elevator pitch, or simply a self-introduction, but describing ourselves is one of the most challenging things we are called upon to do. Many of us tend to stumble through because we don’t know what to say, or we’re simply not comfortable. Sometimes, though, we may be lulled by a false sense of security. We think we know what to say because we believe others will be impress by the buzzwords related to our expertise.
The problem is, buzzwords don’t differentiate us or make us stand out. Let me give you an example.
While conducting a career strategy session, I asked attendees to introduce themselves, and include one key piece of information they believed would make them memorable. Nearly everyone shared information in a relatively bland and safe way, many wrapping their message in some form of corporate speak.In one case, a young project manager delivered the very predictable pitch about saving time and money. Almost immediately, I said, “Were you always like that?” In response, he proudly told us how he’d competed to become an Eagle Scout, earning the distinction about two years ahead of the usual age. As he related this, his energy increased leading to a noticeably enhanced emotional connection with others in the room! In that “ah ha” moment, he realized he could craft a new introduction to convey that he is, and has always been, a high achiever; and he could use his Scout achievement as well as work examples.
You can too.
In coaching clients who need to create a self-introduction, I like to have them build on three factors described by Paula Asinof and Mina Brown in their helpful book, Be Sharp:
- Your Essence Factor: A short professional description of your professional experience or role.
- Your Guru Factor: A statement of any special expertise you bring.
- Your Star Factor: A few words about attributes and/or abilities that set you apart or cause others to admire you.
Here’s an example from one of my technology clients:
“Hi, I’m Jason, and I head an online marketing group for NextWave Business Software. I came to my marketing position after several years in software development, where my focus was on improving user experience. I’m really at home in both coding and marketing, and know the people I work with truly appreciate the unique insights I’m able to bring them as a result.”
Putting these elements into your communications about yourself can make you memorable, clear, specific, and compelling. Even more, your ability to relate them with energy establishes an emotional bridge that makes it easier for people to connect with you.
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What about you? How do you introduce yourself? If you’d like to share, leave your introduction in a comment to this post. I’d love to hear yours!