Improve Your Speaking Skills Professionally
��’How do I introduce myself to him?’ or “Madeline, please tell us something about yourself.” Ugh. Why are these questions so hard to answer? Perhaps it is because there is an aspect about them that always makes us feel like we are supposed to be selling ourselves or maybe we are just very sophisticated and we are being asked usually at a short notice to make ourselves sound very simple.
It can be appalling to introduce yourself to someone or people you do not know at a networking event, conference or business meeting. Yet those one-on-one moments give business managers and leaders an exceptional opportunity to expand their knowledge, grow their professional sphere and tap into the emerging business trends that directly or indirectly affect them and their companies. A great introduction is one that circumvents the usual sketchy pleasantries and instead gets to a fascinating conversation in which both parties deliver value. Even though introductions are very easy to master, here is how to do it well.
Use the Other Person’s Name
First, all business introductions should start with the other person’s name. It is tempting to start with your name, but if you know the name of the other party or person start with his or her name first. For instance in a group context you can say: “Hello, everyone!” and then say your name. In fact it is very important to say your name twice in such settings and it is also a good thing to slow down and say your name slowly and clearly. For instance,” Hello Irene, I’m Vincent, Vincent Beryl. “Depending on the context you may also want to include your company or title.
Build a Rapport through Common Ground
Next consider the other party. Who are you talking to? What will they find compelling and interesting? What exactly can you share to help build a mutual ground and make a connection? The main objective here is to establish a connection through common ground. This can be anything that both of you are interested in. It does not have to be business or school related. It also does not have to be of great importance. Just be sure to begin with obvious and safe links. Try to avoid controversial topics.
Communicate Proper Body Language
As you are talking, keep in mind that a major percentage of your impact will come from your body language and tone of voice. Of course you will want to communicate your enthusiasm by speaking with an upbeat tone of voice, using direct eye contact and smiling. In a business setting you will likely also include a handshake. In addition keep in mind that a fresh and clean breath is very important too. Always carry mints with you!
Be Memorable. Set Yourself Apart.
Since repetition makes listeners tune out even in these shortest of activities, it is important to make your introduction extraordinary. How you set yourself apart of course depends on the audience. Emphasize what the other party will get from you. They do not care so much about your name or the name of your company. All they care about is what your company can do for them or what it means to them.
Thinking universally applies whether you are in a meeting with people who have travelled halfway around the globe to be in a conference with you or you are sitting in a business meeting halfway around the globe. Know what is important, what is equally polite and what is considered rude. For instance in Africa business cards carry more weight and are usually exchanged at the start of a business meeting.
Additionally, most people often talk about adding humor to introductions which is fine, but if you are talking to strangers, be very careful on this one. Since human begins begin to form opinions within the first few seconds, humor can be very risky because it can easily offend. Bottom line: If you are not sure about the audience, consider leaving the humor out.
Be Conversational and Brief
Business introductions should be conversational and short. Share something about your company or yourself and then ask questions that invite the other party to join the conversation.
Self-introductions used as business communication skills are pretty easy if you keep these guidelines in mind. Keep the other person in mind, build a rapport, give them some way to remember you, and be sensitive to cultural nuance. Play around with these guidelines, have fun and then see if you can surprise yourself and improve your speaking skills every time by saying something different that really inspires and excites you.