Introductions can be about what you say…

Imagine you’re at a networking event and you meet a new acquaintance:

“Hi, I’m John. I grew up in Vancouver, but went to Boston for college. I ended up in public accounting, specializing in insurance auditing, where I got promoted early. However, now I’m in business school studying marketing. Hopefully I’ll get a job that I like when I graduate!”

Did he hold your interest? Or did he lose you?

Cocktail parties often bring generic questions like Tell me about yourself or What do you do?  (NOTE: so do interviews)!  When you’re answering and on a roll, it’s easy to ramble on… and on… and on!

The best way to prepare a short introduction: write it down.  Craft something short and punchy that gets people interested and eager to learn more about who you are. Better yet, come up with a few different introductions so you’re ready for different situations (for example, a statement you use at your first campus event might be different than one you use at happy hour). Some examples include:

EXAMPLE: I’m from Canada, but I’ve been in the US for 10 years. Living in Boston made me love the Red Sox and Pats, but I do miss the Maple Leafs.

EXAMPLE: I’m someone who loves seeing new things… by the end of my MBA I want to make sure I’ve seen every continent!

EXAMPLE: I’m a CPA, but I’m seeking a transition to brand management because I find the power of logos intriguing.

Think of your own intro.  What would you include?

To Dos

  • Brainstorm introductions that are appropriate for at least three scenarios (meeting a fellow student at an Orientation event, talking to a recruiter at a company-sponsored networking event, and introducing yourself in class).
  • Work on making your introduction short and sweet. Taking inspiration from Twitter, try to create an introduction fewer than 140 characters.
  • Record yourself doing the intro, and look for body language cues that are helping and hurting the message you want to convey.