Friday, May 27, 2011

How to Introduce Yourself Quickly

by Gilda Bonanno LLC http://www.gildabonanno.com/

Sometimes you have to introduce yourself in 60 seconds or less. This type of introduction is not your "elevator speech" – it's a brief introduction only long enough to outline the basics.

For example, at some networking events, everyone sits around a large table and then each person stands and gives a 30-second introduction, including name and business.

Or sometimes, when a group of several people is giving a presentation to company executives who might not know them, they start with each person coming forward and doing a quick introduction, including name, department, function and location.

Despite how easy a quick introduction may be, people often stumble over it by forgetting to include something, not making eye contact with the audience, mumbling, speaking too softly or fidgeting while speaking.

Here are guidelines to remember when doing a quick introduction:

Prepare. What will you say? Yes, you could talk about yourself for many minutes, but you only have a few seconds, so you have to be selective about what you present. Consider what you really what to communicate and what will have the most meaning for that particular audience.

Practice. Say your introduction out loud, preferably on camera or audio or in front of a mirror or a trusted friend. Repeat it until you can say it clearly and smoothly.

You don't have to memorize it, but it will help you to have key phrases that you can easily remember and say. Because otherwise you may end up saying something such as, "I'm, uh, Mary Johnson… I guess I work for the IT department… and that's it. Oh, and I work at the headquarters office in, uh, Lincoln." And then you've wasted an opportunity to make a good impression.

Here are some examples of quick introductions:

o Within a company: "Good morning. I'm Denise Wallace, the Customer Service Supervisor at the Dallas Call Center."

o Within a company: "Hello, I'm Glen Boyd. I'm a sales representative covering Western Canada. I sell durable medical equipment like canes and wheelchairs."

o Outside the company: "Good afternoon. I'm Andrew Milne. I own and operate Print Plus, a full-service print and copy store in White Plains."

o Outside the company: "Hi, I'm Lisa Caldwell. I'm a tax consultant in Brooklyn specializing in small businesses.

Voice. Speak loudly, slowly and clearly enough to be heard and understood. Enunciate and speak with energy; while you're familiar with your name and identifying details, it may be the first time the audience has heard them.

• Make eye contact. In a few seconds, you can't look at everyone, so pick a few people at random spots throughout the room.

• Stand up straight. Stand still (no pacing or rocking) with shoulders back, head up and your weight evenly distributed on both feet.

• Smile. Smiling will help you look more relaxed and also communicate warmth and sincerity.

• Communicate self-confidence. All of these elements together help you demonstrate self-confidence. If you don't sound confident about the basics of who you are and what you do, then how can you (or the audience) be confident about anything else you might say?

Following these guidelines will help you introduce yourself quickly with confidence and clarity so you can have a good start to your presentation and networking.

Gilda Bonanno's blog www.gildabonanno.blogspot.com

2 comments:

Lynn Gaertner-Johnston said...

Gilda, these are excellent, practical suggestions. I found your brief sample introductions very helpful. I look forward to sharing them with MBA students I will teach this summer.

Nice work!

Lynn

Gilda Bonanno said...

Lynn,
Thanks for your comments - I'm glad you will find the examples helpful for your MBA students!

regards,
Gilda