“Hi, my name is Chad, and I believe that introducing yourself is an art form that takes practice to master.”
We’ve all been in situations where we’ve met someone for the first time, and the conversation either clicks or falls flat. If you’re looking to improve your “click rate”, then you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll share some valuable tips that have helped me improve my introductions over the years. Regardless of whether you consider yourself a pro at introducing yourself or you think there’s room for improvement, these tips will help you make a lasting impression and change the way you meet people for the rest of your life.
The Key to Introducing Yourself: Synopsis vs. Story
When you introduce yourself to someone, are you giving them a synopsis or a story? A synopsis is like a LinkedIn rap sheet. It’s boring and doesn’t leave a lasting impression. You could easily go to LinkedIn and get the bits of information you need. On the other hand, a story is much more interesting and memorable. For example, instead of saying “I used to work here and then spent 20 years working there,” try sharing a story about something you did last week to create an impact, solve a problem, or get your work done. The response will be night and day.
Here’s an example: if we were introducing ourselves right now, I could say, “Hey, I’m Chad,” and you might ask, “What do you do?” I could respond in one of two ways:
- “I’m a professional speaker and author.” Or I could share a story:
- “I’ve got a little bit of a weird job. I somehow wound up as a professional speaker and author, so two weeks ago, I was actually giving the opening keynote at a 3,000 person conference in San Diego. I get to travel around and speak about how to ask powerful questions and create conversations that matter.”
Both could work just fine in different contexts. But one thing I know for sure is that the “opportunity for curiosity” is far greater in the second example.
The Secret to Introducing Yourself Better: Be Curiosity Provoking
You can’t introduce yourself in an interesting, curiosity-sparking way unless you know some cool and interesting things about yourself. I hired a coach named Mark Levy who is famous for helping Simon Sinek find his “why”. His expertise revolves around helping people find their “big sexy idea.”
Mark gave me an assignment to get a blank document and write down 100 cool things that I’ve done. There is no better way to feel not-cool than to try to write 100 cool things that you’ve done because, my goodness, it was hard! But I now have a list of 100 things that I think are cool anyway. These stories are curiosity-provoking, and they’re not all to puff me up and make me look good to somebody else. One is about the time I got hit by a car while riding a scooter to a speaking engagement. Another is about living on an Anishinaabe reservation in Minnesota.
When introducing yourself to someone, you want to be curiosity-provoking but not come across as bragging, right? The key is to be interesting—and interested. I’ve found that when I’m deliberate about asking phenomenal questions that make the other person feel seen, heard, and understood, they’re more likely to remember me. It’s essential to think about what question you might ask to take the conversation one layer deeper or one layer wider into what they’ve said.
Last Intro Tip: Specificity is the Soul of Narrative
If you want to introduce yourself in a way that gets remembered, then specificity is the soul of narrative. A synopsis is not that interesting, just like a generalized summary you could find on Google. But if I told you about a moment in a workshop where this very intimidating, 6’ 5” guy named Sam got up in my face because he disagreed with something I said…that will stick in your brain. As opposed to “I lead workshops”. ::Yawn::
Introducing Yourself is an Art Form
To summarize for my fellow scanners out there, introducing yourself is an art form that takes time and practice to master. The key is to be both interesting and interested. Share stories that are specific and curiosity-provoking, and ask phenomenal questions that make the other person feel seen, heard, and understood. Remember, specificity is the soul of narrative, so be sure to share stories that are memorable and stick in somebody’s brain. I trust these ideas will turn your introductions into the origin of beautiful, unexpected conversations and connections.