Making The Perfect Introduction

How do people introduce you? How do you introduce yourself?

This weekend, I met several people I’ve never spoken to before; sometimes, I had to introduce myself. Each time, I was very clear with announcing my name and why the person should be interested in listening to what I had to say. “Hi, I’m Karen. I’m from the church and today we’re sharing free bottles of water with everyone. Would you like one?” That was how I introduced myself on Saturday. I was walking through the park a block from my church, and a group of us were distributing bottles of water. In that case, people cared more about the bottle than the person giving the bottle but that was the objective. I could have left off my name and it wouldn’t have changed the interaction.

Another of those occasions was at a large meeting I attended yesterday. I had a question for one of the presenters so I got up, waited in the queue at the microphone, reminded myself I wasn’t nervous and while I waited for it to be my turn to speak, I even jotted down on my paper, “My name is Karen Wright”, just in case I got a case of the jitters, or choked and referred to myself as one of the other things that people call me – like Runwright (from my blog) or Kamari (from my email). That wouldn’t have been appropriate – calling myself either or those names might have been a great opportunity to promote my blog but it wasn’t that kind of party 🙂

Social experts don’t often agree on many topics but they do say proper etiquette requires that when you introduce yourself, you should:

  • Keep it brief
  • Match your intro to the setting
  • Skip the job titles
  • Move the focus from yourself and onto the other person

Speaking of introductions, this past weekend, my friend Becky hosted me to guest blog on her page (click to read). Look at how she introduces me to her friends. Becky is a recently graduated PhD candidate, and I assume many of her friends and blog readers are students too, yet I somehow still picture them as being very sophisticated Londoners, wearing stockings while they sip tea and eat scones and scroll down her page. But that’s just my crazy mind.
Becky made the most wonderful introduction, calling me “funny and inspiring and positive.” I couldn’t have said it better about myself.

When introducing ourselves, we tend to shy away from speaking highly of our accomplishments, we use generic phrases and dial down the glow because we don’t want to come across as narcissistic. But your friends don’t. When they introduce you, they laud on the praises and say all the wonderful things you would never say about yourself and especially not to someone you just met.

So apparently, if you want to communicate all your great characteristics to a new person, just get your friend to introduce you so she can talk you up instead.

Have you had to introduce yourself or someone else lately? What did you say?

What do you think? I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

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