"Hey Rebecca, it's great to meet you.
David speaks really highly of you.
Tell me about yourself.
I'll give you 20 minutes, and after that we'll either do business together, or we'll walk away friends."
What a great opportunity
I had just stopped by to see my friend David at his new job, and within 30 minutes one of the founders approached me to do business.
The only problem?
I wasn't prepared.
When the founder walked up, I was waiting for David and rummaging through the refrigerator. It hadn't occurred to me that my visit would turn into this big of a business builder.
I froze thinking, "OMG... I just wanted a popsicle..."
Then I started to ramble.
The founder looked confused. Then I got confused. Fortunately, before the opportunity vanished, David strolled in and saved the day.
I walked away from that meeting shaking my head.
My business is communication, and I couldn't even answer a simple question:
"Tell me about yourself."
When I got home, I vowed that I will ALWAYS be prepared to introduce myself in 20 words or less.
That was 18 months ago.
Since then I developed 5 ways to introduce myself simply, clearly and persuasively. It's boosted my confidence.
Today's attention span is 8 seconds
Winging your introduction is no longer an option.
You have a tiny window of opportunity to capture someone's attention and transform it into success.
Do you know how to make the most of your first 20 words?
Here are some simple guidelines to say who you are and what you do in 20 words or less
Always explain how you add value
8 seconds isn't a lot of time.
You can either use it to describe how great you are, or you can tell your listener how they'll benefit from learning more about you.
Here's the difference:
- I'm an award winning, best selling author.
Explain how you add value
- I help new authors get published faster.
See the difference?
Hook people's attention by focusing on how you can help them. Once they're engaged, they'll want to know more about you.
Speak the way your listener does when they brag, complain or troubleshoot
I used to try to be clever to win people's attention.
It led me to say things like:
- I can teach you how to speak in a way that ignites you and excites others.
No one understood me.
That's because no one says "ignite and excite" when they have trouble connecting with their listener. Instead they talk about how they struggle to get their point across.
Now my introduction is:
- I help people with something to say that struggle to say it.
If you want to your listener to understand you instantly, use the language they use when describing themselves or their situation.
Practice. Practice. Practice.
People tell me all the time "You sound so natural!"
They're surprised when I tell them how much I practice to sound natural.
I have several introductions, and I practice them all.
Before attending a function or giving a workshop, I practice my introduction 5-10 times a day for 2-3 days, and on the day of the event 10-20 times.
You have an 8 second window of opportunity.
Don't blow your introduction because you stumble over it.
Ready to give your perfect introduction?
Here are 5 ways to introduce yourself in 20 words or less
These are just templates. Feel free to modify them to make them work for you. I used my communication consulting introductions as examples.
I help [target audience] do [statement of need] + [statement of benefit]
- I help worried job hunters confidently explain why they're the ideal candidate to hire.
I help [target audience] do [statement of need or opportunity] through [differentiator]
- I help professionals introduce, market and promote themselves in 20 words or less.
I help [target audience] achieve [something they want] without [negative consequence]
- I help nervous presenters pitch, persuade and present without rambling or freezing.
I [transform/translate/convert a problem] into [something aspirational]
- I make complicated ideas easy for anyone to understand and communicate.
I help [target audience] [fix their problem]
- I help new entrepreneurs pitch with more success.
Congratulations! You have a perfect introduction for every occasion
Whether you're going for an interview, sitting at a conference or waiting for a friend, you're prepared to introduce yourself in 20 words or less.
Now get ready to tell them more!
Want to keep the templates handy?
Click the picture or the link to download.
5 ways to introduce yourself perfectly in 20 words or less
Photo / National Rural Knowledge Exchange / Business networking