You may be surprised to find that introduce yourself is the first Raise Your Visibility & Value visibility accelerator. After all, introducing yourself to others seems so simple. What is difficult about saying “hello” and shaking the hand of a new colleague?
Carl is also surprised because, like you, he has been meeting people his entire life. As an adolescent, he found himself at parties introducing himself to new friends. As a young law student, he attended classes where he introduced himself to fellow classmates. Today, as an in-house attorney for a growing software company, Carl “meets and greets” people all of the time – colleagues, clients, and other professionals in the legal profession.
As part of my recurring marketing effort, I love to network with prospects, friends, and colleagues. A great colleague of mine, Mimi McGrath, contacted me last week to grab a cup of coffee and catch-up.
Among a number of items, Mimi wanted to share some observations that she had personally experienced related to content she had read in my new book, Raise Your Visibility & Value: Unlock the Lost Art of Connecting on the Job.
Here’s the reality. There is no one best way to introduce yourself to others. The internet is filled with tips and ideas on how to construct a 30-second commercial. Who is to say which one is right for you? Continue reading →
There are millions of ways to introduce yourself and millions of times you will do so. We introduce ourselves so often that we undervalue how important an energetic and uplifting introduction can be. Let’s face it, we have become bored introducing ourselves.
Introducing yourself is the first visibility accelerator as it is the degree to which you introduce yourself to new colleagues and make a great first impression. You will never get a second chance to make a great first impression, and a great first impression starts with an energetic and uplifting introduction!
Here are three tips I have heard recently that you can integrate into your introduction to ensure it is energetic and uplifting:
Linda Rossetti, author of Women & Transition: Reinventing Work and Life, shared at a networking event the idea of labeling. When you are introducing yourself, you want your introduction to be simple and memorable. One way to do this is to think of a word that best describes you in the marketplace. Words like “builder,” or “change manager,” or “architect,” or “developer.” Whatever your word might be, this is a great way for folks to get a fuller sense of who you are and what you can do for their organization.
Larry Stybel, author of Navigating the Waterfall: Your Guide to Job Search and Career Management, shared at a networking event the idea of not being typical. When you are introducing yourself, you want to stand out from your colleagues. One way to do this is to say, “I am not your typical ______ leader and here’s why.” You can insert your functional area (i.e., Human Resources, Marketing, Bio-pharmacy, Legal) and give 1 – 2 examples of how you are different based on your past work history. Whatever your examples are, this is a great way for folks to get a deeper sense of who you are and how you are different.
A final suggestion that I have developed working with colleagues is to describe yourself through the eyes of others. When you are introducing yourself, you want to talk about your strengths, and it is stronger to do so through the eyes of others. One way to do this is to say, “If you ask others how to describe me, you would hear words like ______, and ______, and ______.” This is also a great way to communicate the reputation you want to have in the marketplace. Whatever your strengths are, this is a great way for you to “toot your horn” and do so from the viewpoint of others.
I attended a team coaching conference in Washington D.C. for four days this past week. When I got to the conference, I realized I had forgotten to bring business cards. It was a big miss!
Even business leaders who talk about the importance of raising your visibility can forget business cards now and again. Keep in mind that business cards are not for you; they are for the other person you are meeting. Even if you hate having them, business cards are the most professional way to share your contact information with a new colleague, prospect, or business acquaintance.
There are two simple things you must do to ensure that you always have business cards for every meeting and conference you attend:
Ensure you have business cards in your wallet or purse. Regardless of what you wear each day, you almost always have your purse or wallet. Prior to my trip to D.C., I removed my business cards from my wallet as I was interviewing a handful of people for a client’s 360 assessment and I wanted to give each of them a business card. I forgot to put them back in my wallet. Big miss!
Ensure you have a supply of business cards in your car, luggage, and briefcase. Since you almost always travel with one or more of these, you will always have a back-up supply of business cards when you need them. You should keep them in a small plastic sandwich bag to keep them clean. I did not do this prior to my trip to D.C., even though I used both my luggage and my briefcase. Another big miss!
So, avoid these big misses. Ensure you always have access to a supply of your business cards and you will never be empty handed.
Let’s face it. At some point in the development of our society, we lost the ability to introduce ourselves to one another. I was not alive when this loss occurred, so I do not have firsthand knowledge of when this happened. I am not a sociologist, so I do not have the research fundraising skills to figure out why this occurred. I am not suggesting that our ancestors excelled at introducing themselves and that this ability mysteriously eroded over time. It does seem, however, that the attention we pay on introducing ourselves to one another peaked at some point in the past. Perhaps you can imagine the following “moments of introduction” throughout history.
Circa 1,000,000 B.C.
Gregory: “Good afternoon. My name is Gregory Van Pelt. It is a pleasure to meet you. Lovely day, is it not?”
Suzanne: “Good afternoon, Mr. Van Pelt. My name is Suzanne Rockefeller. The pleasure is all mine, I am sure. It is quite the lovely day.”
Greg: “What up.”
What happened? Is it the head-spinning advances in technology, growing networks of global economies, and changing workplace demographics that we discussed in the introduction of this book? While I do not know the answer, I do know that the degradation in your ability to introduce yourself is causing you to miss an opportunity to make a strong first impression. You are more likely to say good morning to Siri than to a colleague. John Clancy, President of Radius Worldwide, a global software services company, understands the importance of a strong first impression. John has held a number of senior leadership roles throughout his career and has met hundreds of new colleagues, investors, and customers along the way. “I can’t stress enough the importance of the first few seconds you have when meeting a new person. With a strong introduction, you have the opportunity to create a connection that provides you a surplus of goodwill. No one wants to start a relationship in a deficit, which takes even more effort to turnaround. Making a good first impression is critical to laying a strong foundation for future interaction.”