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?
- 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.