Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Your Self Introduction: Where Can You Use It and What You Should Say

Whether you call it an elevator speech, a 30-second commercial, or a self-introduction, the bottom line is that you need to have the ability to quickly and succinctly introduce yourself in a business setting. It is hard for many of us to talk about ourselves, much less to do it in public! In order to increase your effectiveness and ease your stress, prepare your intro to use in a variety of settings.

Where Can You Use It?
A self-introduction can be versatile enough to be used in a variety of business settings. If you are a job seeker, you can use it when networking with people you have never met before. You can use your commercial at a career fair when introducing yourself to a recruiter. Use the introduction to answer the question "tell me about yourself" in an interview. You can even use your self-introduction to help shape your LinkedIn profile.

As a business person, your self introduction can be used at company meetings. It can be used when you meet new co-workers or a new supervisor. You can also use the self introduction to build rapport and create relationships with potential vendors or suppliers.

What Should It Contain?
As I mentioned, the personal introduction should be short, sweet, and to the point. It is often called a 30-second commercial for this reason. I don't expect you to time yourself, but keep the intro to right around 30 seconds so that you don't monopolize the conversation and you keep your listeners' attention. Your self introduction should answer the following questions:

  • What is your area of specialization?
  • How many years of experience do you have?
  • What are your key skills or traits that make you good at what you do?
  • Can you offer an accomplishment or story that demonstrates your abilities?
  • What makes you unique or sets you apart in your industry?
  • What are you looking for out of the conversation? (In other words, what is the purpose of your conversation with this person: a job, a networking lead, an introduction, new business opportunities, etc.)

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