Introducing Yourself

I often meet new people at various business events. Sometimes I’m introduced to them through colleagues or else they’re just bumped into at random. The situation then crops up as to how you can communicate ‘who you are and what you do’ in an interesting and concise manner. You don’t want it to be too specific as that could cut down possibilities but being too general can result in vagueness. Also, you often have just a few minutes to get the main points over. Tricky!

I’ve tried various techniques and not found any of them particularly satisfying.

One common approach is to define yourself through your profession and role e.g. I’m a senior project manager with company X. This is useful information but it’s not likely to spark an interesting conversation.

What could be better?

There are a couple of suggestions I’ve come across recently that sound promising (see here and here):

1. Tell a mini-story (Present-Past-Future):

So, first you start with the present – where you are right now. Then, segue into the past – a little bit about the experiences you’ve had and the skills you gained at the previous position. Finally, finish with the future – why you are really excited about this particular opportunity.

This sounds fairly natural to me and has the opportunity of revealing a theme, which is probably far more interesting and memorable than any specifics. The listener can then respond to any of the hooks – present, past or future. It just needs to be done succinctly and not develop into a rambling life story!

2. Focus on your customers rather than yourself:

Instead of leading with what you do, lead with who you help. As in, “Hi, my name is Bernard, and I help companies identify and make the best use of their key performance indicators and big data.”

Done. You know who I am, what I do, and more importantly, whether or not I can help you or someone you know.

This sounds a bit rigid to me although, admittedly, it could be very useful if time is tight.

Both allow you to get out of the confining box of profession and role, as, in my experience, nearly everyone is far more interesting than that!


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