Have you ever had an opportunity to discuss your product or service only to find yourself tongue-tied? The person who could open doors for you or connect you with a new client is not impressed. They're walking away, and you realize you missed your chance. We've all had moments where the information we want to impart is not coming across as smoothly as we would like. Being prepared is key to increasing our chance of success. Unfortunately, many of us tend to overlook an important component, which is our impressive introduction.
In school, our introductions are limited to, "What's your major?" "Where are you from?" "Do you have a boyfriend?" Even then, we take for granted that we have more exciting things to say about ourselves. I was helping a young man work on his introduction, and he told me that he had very little to say about himself. I asked him if he ever had a summer job. He said, "Well, I work as a lifeguard, and I'm enjoying that." I said, "Have you ever saved someone's life?" He said, "Sure, a few times." I looked at him with amazement. I said, "Don't you see how incredible that is? You saved lives! That's huge!" He just looked at me and said, "It just goes with the job."
When we finished his 30-second commercial, he was surprised by how much he had accomplished in his young life. He said, going forward, he would be more aware of the skills he has and setting even bigger goals. The feeling of being prepared and knowing what he will say about himself gave him a new sense of confidence.
A short, concise biography of ourselves gives us a foundation that we can work off of. When we meet people for a job interview or a networking event, no one is interested in our resume. They are more concerned about how we are going to help them. What specific benefits do we bring to the table? What have we accomplished in our area of expertise? Where do we see ourselves going on our career path? When we sit down and write out the answers to these questions, we give ourselves a chance to see what our future may be. We may even find a niche or a new job position we hadn't thought about before.
Be open to all opportunities. We don't have to check off all the boxes for a possible career. Sometimes, it's good to take on a challenge and see where it will lead. If anything else, it will give you a unique experience, another skill, or a stepping stone to a new job.
Here are five tips to get you started on putting together your impressive introduction.
- Write down your specific skill-set, for example, sales, marketing, cooking, photography, etc. Include your hobbies. What benefits do you have to offer a company? For example, excellent customer service, strong customer relationships, include stats and awards.
- Write your headline. Grab someone's attention with a quick opener. For example, "Give me ninety minutes, and I will transform you into an engaging, polished speaker." If you need ideas, look at the headlines on magazine covers. You'll notice, in just a few words, they have gotten you interested in a story. Try this technique and see if you can quickly sum up your service or product in a short sentence.
- Be confident. Before you meet someone, check your posture. Walk in the room with your head up and your shoulders back. Remember to smile and look him in the eyes. When you introduce yourself, be upbeat, and speak clearly.
- Listen carefully. As much as you want to talk about yourself, take time to hear what the other person is saying. The more you pay attention to what the other person's wants and needs are, the better chance you have of addressing her concerns. When someone feels heard, the more she will want to engage with you. Connections and relationships form reasonably quickly when there's respect for each other's ideas.
- Practice. The only way to keep from stumbling over your words is to say your introduction out loud. Grab a friend and go over it with her. You want to come across as yourself. Memorize your pitch, but remember that it needs to come across naturally. The more you practice, the more you fine-tune, the more you will find your message coming across effortlessly. You want to sound conversational and not like an infomercial.
Working on your introduction takes time and effort, but it's worth it. It allows you to promote yourself and gives people an insight into what you can offer. You will gain knowledge by listening to the people you meet. You never know who you will make contact with that can provide you the chance of a lifetime.