Icebreaking 104: How to Introduce Yourself

This may sound like elementary, but stop for a second and pretend like you’re meeting me for the first time at a big event, what would you say?

Then, pretend like 6 people came up to me within the past hour and said just about the same thing with a different name, different state.

Now what?

Let’s talk about some of the more effective ways to introduce yourself so you can effectively sell yourself and, most importantly, be remembered. (Remember, 80% of the people you meet at ad events probably won’t remember you. Especially the higher up they are on the totem pole – the less likely they are to care for the little guy. Sadly.) 

These aren’t hard and fast rules, just some tips I’ve learned along the way that have helped me.

How To Introduce Yourself  
·      You don’t always have to start with a formal “Hi, my name is…” Sometimes you can start by making an observation, small joke or asking a question. This is an easy and unintimidating way to test the waters before you launch into your life story.

·      Don’t launch into your life story. Say who you are, what you do and, if necessary, why you’re here or what you and he/she have in common. Focus on three key points you want to get across early so they get an overview of you and are intrigued to talk to you more.

·      Shake the person’s hand, look them in the eye and repeat their name. And don’t get those weak, flimsy shakes. I hate hate hate awful handshakes. Be firm, full-handed and not too rough or strong. Practice on your friends to get feedback on what you’re doing right/wrong.

·      Watch your body language. Stand up straight. Make eye contact. Lean into the speaker. Smile. Make sure they know that you’re listening, engaged and interested. Similarly, watch their body language, if they look like they’re itching to go – let them go.

·      Have something to say. Whether it’s a question, observation or small story, find some interesting tidbit or common ground that you can share a few sentences, and maybe a laugh or two, over.

·      End the conversation early. Don’t wait until their eye starts wandering or someone else snatches them a way. Be concise, get in, leave an impression and then keep it moving. If you want, you can always go back and talk to them again later.

·      Close to the end of the conversation, ask for their business card and if you can contact them later. Don’t ask for the business card too early because that feels more like a closer and they'll hand it to you and say goodbye. (Tip: take their card so the responsibility to connect is in your hand, not theirs.)

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