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Knowing how to introduce yourself is the key to making the most out of different types of events. Have you ever practiced introducing yourself in front of the mirror before heading off to a business event? That may sound funny, but it’s actually smart. Networking events, seminars and professional conferences are great for forming connections, adding to your list of contacts, meeting potential clients and meeting potential business partners.
A joint study by the Adler Group and LinkedIn found that approximately 85 percent of jobs are filled through networking. This is likely because networking leads to new relationships being formed, and the majority of jobs are found through personal relationships.
Professional networking events can feel awkward, especially when you don’t know how to introduce yourself. From my experience, many people don’t know how to introduce themselves properly, and these people should be practicing in front of a mirror or on a friend before blowing their first impression on an important person at an important event. Good business etiquette requires that you master how to introduce yourself.
Let me ask you something: Who are you hoping to meet at these business events when you attend them? Do you want to pitch your product or service to potential clients? Do you want to meet a valuable mentor, such as an industry leader or influencer? Do you want to meet people to collaborate or partner with? Knowing who you want to meet is important, but knowing how to make a good impression on them is even more important.
You need to know how to introduce yourself in a business setting if you’re going to succeed in the business world. Some entrepreneurs don’t even know how to do a proper handshake, let alone how to say the right thing when introducing themselves. Remember that you never get a second chance to make a good first impression – and first impressions stick.
The First 10 Steps Of Introducing Yourself - Infographic: pic.twitter.com/BPys13CemF Click To Tweet
Why Does A First Impression Matter So Much?
First impressions matter tremendously, but why? Carol Kinsey Goman, Ph.D. and author of The Silent Language of Leaders explained why first impressions stick in Forbes: “Two seconds – 30 seconds, tops – that’s all the time it takes some to assess your confidence, competence, status, likeability, warmth, and trustworthiness. That’s how much time you have to make a first impression. In fact, it’s impossible for us not to make these snap judgments about one another. Human beings are wired that way.” Goman adds, “If the initial impression you make is negative, it can have devastating long-term consequences for your business dealings – and even your career.”
The reason the expression, “You only get one first impression” exists is because of the fact that it’s human nature to make a snap judgment on how you feel about someone else, within the first 30 seconds of meeting them. If that first impression goes poorly, you’ll be judged harshly, and you probably won’t later be closing a deal or partnering with the person on the other side of your awkward handshake and shifty eyes.
Why Are Today’s Young Entrepreneurs So Awkward in Real Life, Yet Great at Communicating Online?
Engaging with people online is the norm these days, and the easier it becomes to connect with others online, the more awkward people seem to be at engaging with others in person. Could this be why so many people are terrible at in-person introductions?Chatting and networking online serves as a substitution for real, in-person interactions, which isn’t a good thing. Click To Tweet
I believe that the better we get at engaging with our peers online, the worse we become at interacting in person.
Recent research backs me up on this. A 2018 study conducted by Common Sense Media found that the majority of today’s youth prefer digital communication to real life interactions. The non-profit company, which aims to help youth navigate a tech-driven world, polled 1000 teens between the ages of 13 and 17 about their digital communication and social media habits.The 2018 survey by Common Sense Media found that 61% of teenagers preferred texting, video chatting or social media over talking to their friends in person. Click To Tweet
Back in 2012, Common Sense Media conducted a similar survey and found that only 42% of teens favored digital communication. This proves that advancements in technology and the growing popularity of social media networking is causing today’s youth to favor chatting online over real life interactions.
Further evidence of this epidemic was recently shown in a 2019 study by researchers Jean M. Twenge, Brian H. Spitzberg and W. Keith Campbell published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, entitled Less in-person social interaction with peers among U.S. adolescents in the 21st century and links to loneliness. Their study found that adolescents coming-of-age in the 2010s spent less time on in-person, face-to-face social interaction with peers compared to previous generations. They also found that this generation’s college-bound high school seniors spent over 7 hours less per week engaging in in-person social interactions compared to previous generations.
Is it possible that today’s youth who are more comfortable communicating online will grow up into adults who don’t know how to introduce themselves in real life?
How To Introduce Yourself in a Memorable Way
When you introduce yourself to someone for the first time, you want them to remember you, and you especially want them to remember your name. Make sure to say your full name, and remember to say your name slowly. Enunciate it.
If you say your name too quickly, or you don’t enunciate, the person you are attempting to network with might not even hear your name properly. If they don’t hear your name properly, how do you expect them to remember your name?
When I introduce myself, I say, “My name is Dan Lok” and I marry that with a firm handshake. I say my full name slowly, and I also enunciate my name.
“My name is Dan Lok, it’s a pleasure meeting you.” I will say this as I firmly shake their hand using palm-to-palm contact without crushing their hand. I sometimes even put my other hand on their shoulder, which feels more intimate and helps you form a more intimate connection. Not everyone will shake someone’s hand and also put their other hand on their shoulder, so this move makes it more likely that you’ll be remembered.
People will remember your confidence, too.If you want to introduce yourself in a memorable way, demonstrate confidence by standing tall, talking clearly, and making eye contact. Click To Tweet
Lots of good eye contact shows confidence, as does standing up straight. Good posture will make you seem taller, more confident, and more professional.
Body Language and Non-Verbal Cues: Why Non-Verbal Communication Is Just As Important As Verbal Communication
The spoken word isn’t the only way we communicate when we introduce ourselves. Non-verbal communication is of the utmost importance when introducing yourself, as you communicate a lot about who you are without any words at all. Many people argue that non-verbal communication is even more important than verbal communication.
So, what exactly is non-verbal communication? This includes things like your clothing or personal hygiene, your body language such as good posture, and non-verbal cues such as leaning in to demonstrate that you’re listening.
Wikipedia defines non-verbal communication as: “The transmission of messages or signals through a non-verbal platform such as eye contact, facial expressions, gestures, posture, and the distance between two individuals.”This (non-verbal) form of communication is characterized by multiple channels and scholars argue that non-verbal communication can convey more meaning than verbal communication. Click To Tweet
A very important non-verbal cue is a smile. When you introduce yourself, you should portray warmth and a positive attitude by smiling as you shake someone’s hand.
Another key non-verbal communicator is your eye movements. Maintaining eye contact is crucial, as looking downwards or off to the side illustrates low self-confidence and awkwardness.
Learning how to stand with good posture is another great lesson in first impression body language. Correct posture makes you look taller, more self-assured and more professional. As you stand there, use your hands to emphasize your points as you talk, rather than fidgeting with something.
Research from Professor Albert Mehrabian found that only 7% of communication is verbal, 38% is paraverbal (meaning tone and intonation) and a whopping 55% of communication is non-verbal. Click To Tweet
These percentages are approximate, but the point is that non-verbal communication is hugely critical.
In 1971, Mehrabian published the book Silent Messages, in which he presented his research on non-verbal communication. He concluded that prospects based their assessments of credibility on factors other than the words the salesperson spoke verbally.
Now you probably understand why in job interviews, for example, body language and your ‘interview outfit’ are so important. To communicate that you’re perfect from the job, you can’t just introduce yourself at the interview with the perfect words to sell yourself. You also have to dress the part, be freshly showered and groomed, make eye contact, smile, avoid nervous fidgeting, and lean inwards to showcase that you’re interested in the job.
Verbal Communication: What Should You Say?
Now let’s talk about verbal communication. What should you say when you introduce yourself? How should the dialogue go after you’ve given someone your full name?
Firstly, anything you say should be brief. No rambling. Talk with them as if they’re a friend. And you should always listen to the other person speak more than you speak.
In fact, the first words out of your mouth after you exchange names should be a question about who they are and what they do. Ask them to tell you about their business. If you want to ask a lighter question first, you could simply say, “What brought you to this event?”
Listen to their answer, and ask a follow-up question. Then describe who you are and what you do in one concise sentence. If you can, include another concise sentence that provides an example of what you do, so that you’ll be remembered. For example: “I specialize in social media, and I offer a program that grows my clients’ social media following. A clothing brand I recently took on used to have 500 followers on Instagram, and now they are nearing the 50k mark.” Below is an example dialogue snippet of 2 attendees at a business event:
ATTENDEE 1: “Hi, my name is Julian Carter, it’s a pleasure meeting you.”
ATTENDEE 2: “Hi, I’m Linda Chen. Nice to meet you, too.”
ATTENDEE 1: “What brought you to this event today, Linda?”
ATTENDEE 2: “I just started a new business, so I’m here to learn some marketing strategies.”
ATTENDEE 1: “Wow, congratulations on starting a new business venture! Could you tell me a bit more about it?”
ATTENDEE 2: “Sure! It’s an organic skincare line. What do you do?”
ATTENDEE 1: “I actually specialize in social media marketing. This quarter, I grew a clothing brand’s Instagram following from 500 followers to 50k.”
It’s smart to craft concise sentences that describe you in a memorable way before you leave for the event, and practice saying them out loud. That’s just good preparation.If you’re hoping to “luck out” at a business event and land a new client, remember the classic expression from Roman philosopher Seneca: “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.” Click To Tweet
Prior to the event, you can also prepare a few key talking points or some valuable information. Read up on the latest industry news or trends before the event so that you have good talking points. This way, you’ll also proving that you are in-the-know and current on any relevant industry trends. You can spark interesting and valuable conversation this way, post-introduction.
Another thing you can prepare is a 30 second ‘elevator pitch’ about your business in case you meet someone who is genuinely interested in what you do, and wants to hear more. Once you introduce yourself and form that initial connection, you might find out that this person is a potential client who could use the services you provide. It’s not even outside of the realm of possibilities that you could close them right then and there. If you purchase my Perfect Closing Script before your business event, your odds of that happening will increase.
My Perfect Closing Script will also help you figure out what different personality types are out there, and how you should speak to each personality type.
This way, you’ll quickly figure out with whom you could joke around and show off your sense of humor, or who you should be giving lots of compliments to, and so on.
What Not To Do
You’ve just learned a lot of things you should do when you first meet someone, but what should you not do when you introduce yourself?
Don’t seem too excited or overly eager. You need to be calm and professional. To avoid appearing overly eager, simply take your time. Slow it down. Don’t talk too fast – and don’t talk too much, either.
Even if you’re asked a question that could have a long answer, don’t let yourself ramble. Keep your answers concise. This takes practice.
Don’t invade anyone’s personal space. Keep an appropriate amount of distance between you and the person you’re talking to.
Don’t speak too softly, and don’t speak in monotone. Speak clearly with confident intonation. Speak with personality.
Don’t make the mistake of talking too much, and not listening enough. To avoid doing too much of the talking, remember to ask questions.
Introducing yourself at a business event could lead into a once-in-a-lifetime conversation with someone very influential or important. How can you become a master at conversation, so that when you meet someone new, you can impress them, stand out and be memorable? What about if you meet someone who you could potentially sell your product or service to? With my exclusive Perfect Closing Script in your back pocket, you’ll have much better luck closing prospects when you’re given the opportunity to do so.
Now you understand why the way you introduce yourself is so important. You only get one chance to make a great first impression, and a first impression sticks.
At least 80% of jobs are found through personal relationships and networking. This is why forming new connections and meeting new people is so important.
Only 7% of our communication is verbal, on average. This means that non-verbal communication is extremely important, such as personal hygiene, your outfit, your body language, etc.
Below is a summarized list of steps for introducing yourself the right way.
- Check your posture. Stand up straight and keep your chin up.
- Smile, make eye contact, and extend your hand. Shake their hand firmly, but not too firmly, while also making eye contact and smiling.
- Say your full name while shaking hands. Say your name slowly and enunciate. “Hi, my name is ______, it’s a pleasure meeting you.”
- Pay attention to your body language. Don’t fidget or look downwards.
- Speak clearly, with confident intonation. Speak with personality and good intonation – don’t speak in monotone.
- Ask questions such as, “What brought you to this event?” and “What type of business are you in?” Lean in slightly to demonstrate that you’re interested and listening to their answers.
- Provide one or two concise sentences about who you are and what you do.
- Prepare some key talking points, for example by reading up on new industry trends before the event, so that you can spark interesting and relevant conversation.
- Find common ground and discover common interests to build rapport.
- Have a 30 second ‘elevator pitch’ prepared in case they want to hear more about what you do.