Easy Self Introductions for People Who Loathe Introducing Themselves

6 Ways To Creatively Introduce Yourself In 30 Painless Seconds

Picture This: You are at a workshop. The Facilitator announces: “Self Introductions!” She gives everyone 30 seconds. She’d like to start with… don’t freak out… you. Yes, you!

I have written so often about “How To Confidently Introduce Yourself” that this time, I have created a 20 page EBook which explains how to do it for yourself. The link to learn more and buy is at the end of this article.

Just like washing-up styles, there are infinite ways to introduce yourself professionally. Today I explain the advantages of being a Self-Intro Superstar, I share 6 creative styles to keep boredom at bay and why you should keep a few versions up your sleeve.

Ten Common Self-Introduction Mistakes

Generally, a networking Self-Intro takes between 30 and 180 seconds. About the time it takes to answer a text message or have a blood test. A brief rah, rah, rah and it’s all over.

When it’s time to introduce yourself, especially to a group, an astounding number of people begin with “umm”. That conversational filler will buy some thinking time, but really, how much time do you need to remember how to say your name in public?

  1. Ummm, forget to mention your name.
  2. Ramble and get gonged off for going overtime.
  3. You don’t “end” but fade away as you sink into your chair.
  4. Say too much too soon and overwhelm. (My downfall)
  5. Be mind-numbingly boring… because you are bored.
  6. Apologise for existing before and after you speak.
  7. Sound just like everyone else and be just as forgettable.
  8. Inappropriately list your achievements like a verbal CV.
  9. Launch into a high-powered selling tirade.
  10. Fail to explain who you are and why anyone should listen to you.

Oooh dear, are now you shrivelling up with the memory of a time you really “stuffed up” your self-intro? Or remember the compassion you felt when someone else was struggling like a butterfly on a pin in front of the group?

Advantages of Easy Self Introductions

Apart from leap tall buildings, save decimated species and your confidence as blinding as your dazzling teeth, your ability to introduce yourself creatively, quickly and memorably lets you:

  1. Expand your confidence to instantly feel good about yourself,
  2. Relax knowing you have professionally conveyed all you need to in that moment,
  3. Attract the right kind of clients and connections because the right people, heard you.

Why Do I Need Different Versions & Lengths?

Because every moment, every group and every situation is different.

You begin a new conversation with every self-introduction. You may spend the rest of your life or just a workshop day with those new people. How many times has a chance conversation with a stranger turned into something you really valued?

Long Term Ripple Effect

Self-introductions create potential long-term relationship ripples, yielding valuable friendship, contacts, clients and new ideas. Self-introductions mean you are out of the office. How many new people have you met lately stuck in your chair?

  • 5 Seconds – yummy bites to suit informal, off the cuff moments.
  • 30 Seconds – tantalising tasters to generate interest, connection and conversation.
  • 60 Seconds -here is the showcasing opportunity – prepare efficiently to make effortless.

No One Size Fits All

While there are many ways to introduce yourself, here are 6 creative styles to explore.  I share them with clients who pick and choose what suits them best:

  1. I Fix That!             (shows how you fix typical client issues)
  2. Expert Tip             (demonstrates expertise, credibility and generousity)
  3. Client Story           (explains who your clients are and the results they achieve)
  4. Off The Cuff           (shows confidence to casually interact and segue elegantly)
  5. Show Don’t Tell    (enables you to speak less and creatively show what you do)
  6. Raving Fan Praise (demonstrates credibility and results without you over explaining)

And Here’s How

Below is a practical example of the I Fixed That! Self Intro. Depending upon the time allocated or appropriateness to the situation (because you don’t want to be weird) it’s a great one to simply explain how you fix typical client issues and thus, clearly identify what you do and who you do it for. Remember, there are many ways to personal pitch nirvana, this is just one style: 

 

I Fix That! In 30 Seconds

“You know how when some people speak, you remember them and ask for their card, but others, you simply forget?

Well I fix that! My name is Geraldine. I’m a public speaking coach and I transform the speakers you don’t remember, into the ones that you do!!!

Work with me, if you want to be remembered when you speak!

I’m Geraldine Barkworth, chief voice, of Goddess of Public Speaking.”

And For Those Looking For Mastery…

If you want to speed up mastery of the art of easy self-introductions, you need to expand beyond just one self-intro style. Try mixing it up with Off the Cuff and Show Don’t Tell. Your listeners will thank you. You also need to know about a few other bits and pieces, namely:

  • The 3 Unconscious Questions In Every One’s Mind – as in, “Why should I listen to you?”
  • Understanding Your Audience – you need to customise to each unique situation.
  • Your POD (Point Of Difference) – what makes you different, valuable and memorable?
  • Authentic, Conversational Delivery – not too fast and not too slow.
  • Confidence & Handling Nerves – generate respect, credibility and opportunity.

Become A Self-Intro Superstar – Stop Cringing – Next Step!

If you are keen to never freak again when asked to Introduce Yourself, the next step is to purchase my Ebook, “Easy Self Introductions: For People Who Loathe Networking & Introducing Themselves.” I provide examples from different occupations (such as therapist, photographer, physio, bookkeeper, solicitor, author, coach) to get your creative juices flowing. I demonstrate examples of 6 Self Intro styles, each 30 seconds in length, plus I include a few 5, 60 and 120 second versions. Naturally you can have fun plundering, mixing and matching.

There’s also exercises to help you put your own together, so you come out sounding like you, not me! It contains 20 pages of how-to notes, examples and templates.

Why have one when you can have six ways to introduce yourself? Whip ‘em out and you’ll never be caught short when a Facilitator suddenly invites you to speak first. Never freak out again.

Learn More, Preview & Purchase The Easy Self Introductions EBook

© 2019, All rights reserved. Geraldine Barkworth, Public Speaking Coach, Goddess Of Public Speaking.

Video: Activism Needs Introverts

TED Talk by Sarah Corbett

Activism and public speaking roles traditionally favour loud confident extrovert personalities, willing to beat the door down to be heard. Think of street fundraisers who boldly approach for donations and brush off rejection and disinterest like dandruff on a collar.

50% of the population identify as introverts. Introverts want to contribute but often struggle to be heard in meetings, groups and in the street where the loud and quick, dominate.

Sarah Corbett’s delightful and inspiring 13 minute TED Talk Video Activism Needs Introverts shows introverts how to participate without compromising themselves and becoming… an extrovert! No offense intended!

The Rise of Craftivism

Sarah is a professional activist (and therefore public speaker). She campaigns using creative, thoughtful, quieter forms which won’t lead to being arrested by police or endless public conflict. Sarah’s quiet activism opens conversations. New ideas delight and engage rather than repel and close down. The 3 methods she uses (and discusses in her book, “A Little Book of Craftivism”) are listed below. In case you think “Oh no way, how can this be useful?” as I did initially – watch the video to see evidence, examples and surprising impact of her work:

  1. Group Handicrafts. People slow down and think more deeply rather than rush off in reactive rage. Participating in calm, repetitive artwork together is unifying. This is a boon for the shy who can have interesting conversations without heavy duty eye contact.
  2. Gift Making. Creating and presenting clever and simple gifts for the influential in power. Rather than using threat, they create quirky gifts like a hand sewn handkerchief with a pertinent message. The personal thought and heartfelt message combine to create a new way to reach people.
  3. Provocative Art. Create art in small, personal ways like T-shirts and signs that initiate 1 to 1 conversations (something introverts are good at). They use intrigue, strategy and social movements rather than force or noise.

Contribute In Your Own Way

In my late teens, I joined a group of social activists because it looked more interesting than going to the pub every Friday night giggling in white stillettos. The group waived placards, beat drums, tied themselves to trees and dressed up in post nuclear rags. Lots of makeup. It was fun, but ineffective. I noticed the general public were uninterested and even repelled. Certainly our plucky activist numbers did not grow. I’m not saying causing a ruckus is a waste of time. It’s just one of the ways to draw attention to important causes. Perhaps a way that’s more suited to extroverted personalities. Being an introvert, I feel thrilled by Sarah Corbett’s approach.

Sarah closes with a call to Activism Action to gain the best results for everybody: Extroverts must consciously include introverts rather than ignore or dismiss their contribution. Introverts must actively join in their way, rather than give up or hang back, to ensure everyone’s unique voice is heard. To listen to more TED Talks, visit www.ted.com.

© 2019, Geraldine Barkworth. This review is the opinion of the author only. www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au

Tough Times Make Good Story Telling

It’s What You Learn That Counts

We all have tough times and sometimes you don’t want to talk about them, ever.

But if you are ready to consider them, think about what you learned. It’s the learning that’s character-forming. Not whether you succeeded or failed, but what you learned as a result. And if that learning benefits you, then it will likely benefit others. And that’s the basis of good story telling.

Often, it’s the so-called “failures” that provide the most benefit. Knowing not to do something again, is powerful. It’s the beginning of wisdom and confidence in yourself to make the best choices for you. No mistakes or scary challenges equals a boring stunted life.

Here’s a bad experience of my own turned into good story telling:

I was second speaker at a conference, talking about the elusive mystery of work life balance. So elusive, the first speaker was missing. He eventually turned up twenty minutes late and spoke AT the audience instead of WITH them. I had to re-energise, re-engage and refocus a hostile audience. I gained a lot of value from that crappy experience. It propelled me to morph into a specialist public speaking coach.

He Lost Me At “Hello”

Here’s how I translated that bad experience into a two minute introductory story:

“It was hot, it was sticky… it was a tropical conference at the top end of Australia.
pause
A government minister was to open the conference and he was twenty minutes late. In he shuffled apologetically, flanked by four flunkies. He hid behind the lectern and studiously read a long jargon filled paper, clearly written by somebody else. His voice was a fast monotone, his were eyes cast down. Who was this man? Why was he here?
pause
I had no idea what he was talking about because his language was unclear and so was his point. I looked around. The audience was more interesting than him. There were a lot of glazed eyes, long suffering sighs and checking of text messages…
pause
I didn’t hear the rest of his speech because, “He lost me at “hello”.

bigger pause
Two important things I learned at that hot, sticky conference:

One: When a speaker fails to acknowledge, engage and be relevant to his audience, they switch off and stop listening.
Two: What is the point of speaking if no one is listening?

bigger pause
As I was the speaker following him, I felt jittery. He was not only over time, but he’d lost our audience. This meant I had to work hard to regain attention and respect from the audience and keep my own spirits up after a dismal start.
pause
The turning point for me was the realisation that there was an opportunity here. I already knew how to help people feel confident, craft scintellating messages and sensitively lead groups. Right then I decided to switch from life coach to speaking coach. I chose to specialise in showing nervous speakers how to relax and give themselves and their audience a good time. A time they would value and remember.

bigger pause
The result of that initially bad experience of the first speaker, the one who “lost me at hello”, is this public speaking course that you’ve signed up for today: “Free Your Inner Public Speaker. Welcome!“

 

Be Personal

When you begin your speech with sharing a personal story, it begins a relationship with your audience. Start with a simple, graphic opening line. Pause to let the audience catch up and have their own experience of relating to what you said. Briefly tell the rest of the story. Tell what you’ve learned from that experience and how it relates to the purpose of your talk. Engage their interest first. Then explain how it is relevant to them. Make eye contact one person at a time.

Drop Trying To Be Clever

Don’t struggle with trying to put something “clever” or “perfect” together (that’s a “should” coming from your head). Instead, take a leap to trust your instincts (coming from your body and heart) that what tumbles from your lips will be good enough. It’s your true story in glory and simplicity. Your story telling just may a bit of polish.

The key is to practise again from a fresh perspective, using what you learned from your first story telling practise. Ask yourself each time: What flowed and felt good? What didn’t?

Don’t Forget To Pause

Taking the time to pause often while you speak, gives you time to gather your thoughts, tune into your feelings and speak from that place. It allows your listeners to catch up and travel along with you.

Sometimes speakers feel nervous or believe they don’t have anything of value to say, so they too speak quickly or nervously fade away. Which are fabulous ways to lose your audience. The “pause” draws people in – they want to be with you, because you are with them. Pausing is natural and normal and feels like relief.

It’s Your Turn

Choose a story from your past, it may be twenty years ago, it may be yesterday. Choose a turning point for you, a significant learning that caused you to change, grow or overcome a problem. Or maybe you didn’t overcome it. Perhaps that was the valuable learning.

Take a closer look at the format I used for my turning point story above, “He Lost Me At Hello”.

Right now I want you to resist writing out your turning point story so it doesn’t get caught up as a carbon copy of the one above. Writing things out perfectly often leads to memorising and sounding like a stiff piece of cardboard. Trust yourself you can tell your story, what you learned from it and what you can therefore share or teach others, because… you were there… how could you forget?

Distill The Essence

Start by recalling the story… identify what you learned… and then distill the essence into something you find valuable and can assume your potential listeners will too.

Now say it out loud. It’s ok to ramble a few times. It’s may be easier to practise with some one else. Get the guts out, then reduce and create a good story telling picture. Remember to pause as you recall it and to allow listeners to share in the picture you are painting. Another benefit of saying it out loud first, is your language will sound more natural.

If you want to write it out, you can do it now! And if you’d like to learn the rest of the “He Lost Me At Hello” story, you can download it from my free Treasure Chest of public speaking goodies.

Good Story Telling Is Not Just For Kids

You don’t need to spill secrets, share personal tragedies or make up stories to create drama and get attention. A good story contains all the elements of life: a problem, the journey to resolve, the joy and pain of the learning. Your private life is private. You choose your level of disclosure… and you can bend the truth a little… especially if it makes even better story telling! Adults and children understand that a story is a metaphor for a powerful life lesson. It contains a core of truth. What’s most important is the learning, because that’s what you are transmitting, the learning you gained from your tough time so that others benefit from the wisdom of your experience.

(c) 2016-2019 Geraldine Barkworth, public speaking coach, www.goddessofpublicspeaking.com.au