How Can You Introduce Yourself?

There are a number of ways to introduce yourself effectively. Consider the following first three-steps of a six-step model (comprised of the strong start, the strong introduction, and the strong finish) when working on introducing yourself to others.

The Strong Start

Approaching others or being receptive to the approach of others, along with great eye contact and a confident handshake, are key components to a strong start. These behaviors illustrate that you are comfortable and skilled at introducing yourself. In real time, your strong start will last from five to seven seconds. Don’t underestimate, however, the difference that a few seconds can make when introducing yourself effectively.

-Œ Approach Others. Opportunities to introduce yourself will generally arrive in one of two ways – either a colleague will approach you or you will approach a colleague. Regardless of “who goes first,” you either need to approach new colleagues in order to introduce yourself, or be receptive to new colleagues when they approach you.

- Make eye contact. Strong eye contact is one of the best ways to demonstrate that you are an attentive and invested participant. While your eye contact will vary during the conversation, focus on eye contact more when you are listening than when you are speaking. You may be the type of person who speaks visually, and in order to do so, look away at what I call the “invisible whiteboard.” This invisible whiteboard is where you do your best thinking and where you collect your thoughts in order to speak effectively. However, if you look away when your new colleague is speaking, you may appear disinterested. Maintain strong eye contact when your colleague is speaking.

-Ž Shake hands. While it might not be required or accepted in all cultures, shake hands with a new colleague when appropriate. If it does not seem to fit the moment (e.g., your colleague may not be feeling well and is not shaking hands at the moment) or there is not an opportunity to shake a new colleague’s hand (e.g., your colleague’s hands are full with a glass of wine and a plate of cocktail weinies), that is fine. Move on and introduce yourself. If shaking a hand of a new colleague does seem to fit the moment, give a firm but brief handshake.

Do You or Don’t You Introduce Yourself to Others?

Are you skeptical of the importance of a strong introduction? Sit back and watch the behavior of colleagues who do not know one another and do not introduce themselves at your next meeting. Discomfort reigns as it feels that something is missing. Their interactions are stilted. Progress flounders. If you are a busy business professional in an ever-evolving organization, you fall into one of the following categories when you introduce yourself to colleagues you do not know.


You avoid introducing yourself at all costs. Perhaps you are highly uncomfortable or severely underskilled. Much like getting a flu shot, you want your introduction to be quick and painless. In fact, you would not introduce yourself to others at all if you could avoid doing so.

Do any of the following Avoider characteristics seem familiar to you when you think about introducing yourself to others?

– You sit down at a company meeting and immediately take out your smartphone to scroll email.
– You sit down next to a table full of colleagues at a training class and immediately look at the training material.
– You sit down at a table at a networking event and quietly “disappear” into another world, staring at anything or anyone as long as it is not anyone at your table.
– You join a senior leadership meeting and you sit next to a known colleague who saved you a seat.
– You sit with a new group at a teambuilding session and never introduce yourself.


You introduce yourself, yet you do so poorly. Perhaps you are inconsistent, inattentive, or underskilled. Perhaps you do not value the benefit of a solid introduction. Whatever the reason, your inability to introduce yourself effectively leaves others feeling unimpressed and underwhelmed.

Do any of the following Fumbler characteristics seem familiar to you when you think about how you introduce yourself to others?

– You take an opportunity to introduce yourself, yet you look away as you do so, reeking of disinterest.-
– You only introduce yourself when a colleague starts the introduction for you.
– You are approached by a new colleague who introduces himself to you and you respond by saying “Hi,” without saying your name.
– You introduce yourself to others, yet you are asked to repeat your name because you mumbled when you spoke.
– You are not focused on the colleague you are meeting, which causes you to repeatedly ask, “I’m sorry, what was your name again?”


You are consistent, attentive, skilled, and invested. You introduce yourself with energy, clarity, and confidence. You are focused on your colleague and interested in meeting him. You know that introducing yourself is an exciting opportunity to make a great first impression and a thrilling opportunity to connect with a new colleague.

Do any of the following Introducer characteristics seem familiar to you when you think about introducing yourself to others?

– You demonstrate excitement in meeting another individual. You are interested in hearing your colleague’s name and any other additional information about him. Your colleagues feel energized simply by meeting you.
– You know the importance of a good introduction and you want to create a great first impression. You express this confidence with a solid handshake and a strong voice.
– You know what you want to say and you say it clearly and concisely.
– While you are introducing yourself, you are also focused on the other person. You demonstrate good eye contact and you ask questions that demonstrate you are listening.