Introductions are crucial. Your introduction is your first impression. You can say anything you want to describe yourself but somehow we’ve evolved to take the safe road, the generic intro. We are boring. Rather than stand out we try to fit in. And what happens? We get forgotten.
Too often we revert to the safety net of what we do for work or where we are from and the conversation goes nowhere.
“Hi, I’m Brandon and I work at [BLAH, BLAH BLAH]…” or “Hi, I’m Sam and I’m from [insert location]…”
Rather than share our real interests and passions we leave our personalities at the door and stick to the most used, most boring answers. We fear to tell revealing truths about ourselves immediately because there might be questions, or even worse, judgement that we might not fit in.
We are creatures of habit, we inherently fear change. Yet, if we don’t change the status quo, if we don’t give ourselves a chance to be remembered, then what’s the point of making an introduction anyway? The introduction you choose is your first and most powerful opportunity to make a connection with another. So why is it so difficult to make a great first impression, introduce yourself with charisma, and share something truthful and interesting about yourself?
The Myth of “Fitting In”
When we were young we had no fear to share our true selves. We’d walk up to a stranger and jump right into lists of the things we love, activities we enjoy, and then simply ask our new friend to join in the fun.
However, sometime around high school age everything changed. This is when we really started to care what others thought of us. We wanted to be part of a group. We wanted to be accepted by others who were like us. It was at this point in our life that our introductions changed and we left out our love of finger painting at home. We shifted to the “safe” route.
“Hi, I’m Brandon and I’m on the swim team…” or “Hi, I’m Brandon and I’m [insert school activity]…”
Then, after High School, we get to go to College! Young, motivated, progressive individuals forming their own paths. We can be whoever we want and speak freely but what happens to the introduction? It simply becomes,
“Hi, I’m Brandon and my major is Geography”… great….more of the same. :/
Once we graduate and move to the professional world what happens? You guessed it! We simply replace our major with our job choice. Fill in the blank introductions. Sorry to break it to you, but if you want to stand out, if you want to be remembered, you need to reinvent your introduction. Escape the “Mad-lib” introduction and start sharing your passions and interests right away.
Better Safe Than Sorry…..NOT
Unless your 9 to 5 is the most interesting aspect of your life, you shouldn’t start with your job as your first sentence of an introduction. What do you like? Food, colors, games, TV shows?
ANYTHING other than… “Hi my name is X, and I work at Y”.
We have taken the safe road for too long. And where did it get you? If you’re like most, nowhere near where you actually WANT to be. So why continue with the same introduction and expect different results?
“But I want to find common ground….”
“But I don’t want them to think I’m weird…”
Or whatever your lame excuse may be… We have been so conditioned to supply “safe” information that we’ve simply become boring. We all WANT to talk about our passions and interests anyway, so cut to the chase and start your conversation that way.
The safe road gets you forgotten, and what’s worse than someone thinking you’re a bit weird? Them not remembering you at all…
How to Craft Your Introduction – 3 Simple Steps
I think I’ve beaten the boring introduction to death enough, but you’re probably wondering how to craft an introduction that gets remembered. I’ve come up with a super simple formula for you to use when reinventing your introduction.
Name + Passion + Benefit
What do you love to do? What activity, animal, tv show, idea, do you enjoy? Then add the benefit. Easiest way is to think “so that”. For example,
“Hi, I’m Brandon. I love meeting new people and putting the human back into humanity.”
Is that a little longer than the standard intro? Absolutely. Does it talk about my passions more than my job? Absolutely. Does it kick start a conversation? Much more than the “generic” introduction I used to use.
Don’t be afraid to share your passions, you are not alone, there’s someone else in the world who loves the same things. Maybe you don’t think the person you’re meeting will care, but that’s better than being boring. And if you want to talk to like-minded people all you need to do is harness the power of the internet to find groups in your neighborhood of people enjoying crazy and unique activities.
Take a moment and think about what makes you stand out. How do you want to be remembered? If you don’t make an instant connection with the person you just met, then wish them well and move on. There are billions of people in the world that you can meet and build valuable relationships.
Be memorable. Share your passions. Open up. Doing so will make a massive impact and you’ll know the connection you made is genuine, built on you, rather than your career choice. Next time you meet someone new, introduce yourself with your name and your passion. Try it out. What’s the worse than can happen?