You might be wondering why I’m speaking about this today. I believe it is essential to know how to introduce yourself and not assume that the other person knows everything about you.
“Hello, I’m Joanne Savoie-Malone.“ So what? Whenever I’m wondering if I’ve provided enough information, I would say in my head, “so what?” Introducing myself, just by my name, is not enough to be remembered. Has this ever happened to you? Someone introduces themselves to you just by their name, and a few minutes later, you cannot, no matter how hard you try, remember their name. There are many hacks out there to help you with this. Today, I will talk to you about introducing yourself in such a way as to be memorable and to illuminate the value you bring to that person. This is sometimes referred to as the value proposition or the elevator speech.
I will cover only four areas in this post:
1. Introducing yourself to people you know.
2. Introducing yourself to people, you don’t know.
3. Introducing yourself when you start a new job.
4. Introducing yourself in a job interview.
Introducing Yourself to People you Know
I think most of you know Chandler from the sitcom FRIENDS. None of Chandler’s friends know what he does for a living. He tries to tell them, “I’m in statistical analysis and data reconfiguration,” but it goes over their heads, and you can see that they have a blank look in their eyes. His friends do not have a clue what he does. During a contest where Monica and Rachel’s apartment is on the line, Rachel guesses, “Transponster” for Chandler’s job title. This results in Chandler and Joey winning the apartment. When you tell your friends and family what you do, do they nod politely and say aah? If what you do is complex, then be aware of that and maybe simplify things for them. Perhaps if Chandler had said something like, “I look at surveys and analyze them,” or simply “I’m a researcher,” they might connect better with that and remember him when opportunities for employment in the area of surveys and analysis come their way.
I have a group of friends that my husband and I frequently travel with. The two of us were chatting and observed that we had no idea what some of them did precisely. Your friends and family can often be a link to career opportunities and jobs. Having a simple introduction, just for your friends and family, that they are familiar with, makes sense, even if you are not looking for a job right now. They will be much more likely to recognize opportunities that match your skills or career if they understand what it is you do. When they are having discussions with other people, they could say, “oh, that’s precisely what my brother-in-law does!” Also, practicing your intro speech to your friends and family feels much less daunting. With time, you will become much more comfortable. I personally wear many hats, and if I were looking for more training jobs, I would tell my friends and family;
“Hey, just to let you know that I’m currently looking for training opportunities. I also coach people to find jobs and help them with their careers.”
Introducing Yourself to People, you Don’t Know
Introducing yourself to people you don’t know is generally a bit more formal, but sometimes depends on the circumstances. It could be within your organization, meeting a client, a connection on social media, or networking events. In any of these circumstances, you would tell them what you do, how many years of experience you have, your strengths and what value you bring. Below are some examples.
If I’m looking for clients:
“Hello, my name is Joanne Savoie-Malone, and I’m a transition coach. I help people with their job search strategies. I’m very good at hearing what is not said and helping people to discover what they really want.”
If I were looking for a job as a career coach, I might say:
“I’m a career coach with over ten years of experience helping people put together a strategy to find the perfect job by helping them with personal branding, organization skills, interview prep, negotiation and the first 90 days on the job, as well as everything in between.”
Most people will remember what I do because most people have looked for jobs before. They can easily visualize what I do. When you’re at a networking event, you might also have stories prepared that showcase some of your accomplishments, once you have made your introduction. Questions often arise, and telling stories is the best way to get into an engaging conversation. I like to use the framework SAR which stands for Situation, Action, Results.
SITUATION: A client was all over the map in terms of looking for a job and was sending out 30 applications a week.
ACTION: I suggested that less was more and to only apply to the jobs that he met most of the requirements for and genuinely wanted to work for.
RESULT: He was able to focus on the jobs that mattered most to him and get the job of his dreams.
Preparing stories beforehand or keeping a mental inventory, as well as a document of your accomplishments will help you pull them out when an opportunity in a conversation or an interview arises. Taking the time to review your accomplishments will also give you more confidence and remind you of the value you bring to the world.
Introducing Yourself When You Start a New Job
What about when you start a new job? Ok, this one is easy because you would simply say, “Hi, my name is Joanne Savoie-Malone, and I’m the new Career Coach.” In this case, you don’t need to tell them your background, but telling them that you are the new person in a specific position will help them remember you. Also, always use your first and last name, then people have two options to remember you by. When in a meeting, you could provide a bit more information and context, such as where you come from, what project you will be working on, your expertise or whose team you are on. Don’t be afraid to share your excitement about being there; you are in a new job, you were the one selected. “Hello, my name is Joanne Savoie-Malone, and I’m the new facilitator working with the Training Team. I’m very excited to be here and to be working with the team.”
Introducing Yourself in a Job Interview
Finally, introducing yourself in a job interview when they ask, “Tell me about yourself.” Now that’s a loaded question, isn’t it? Not necessarily. First, it’s an ice-breaker to get the interview going, and it’s always a good strategy to start with the star attraction! Some people make the mistake of reciting their resume. Remember, they already have the resume in front of them. Also, try to avoid giving them a biography; “When I left school 20 years ago, I landed this job…..” Think about it for a second, at this stage of the interview, they don’t actually care about you, they care about themselves. By asking this question, they are actually asking themselves one, two or all of these three questions:
1. How can Joanne help me make money?
2. How can Joanne help me save money?
3. How can Joanne help me solve a problem?
Here’s your opportunity to showcase your strengths and the value you bring. You can tailor your response to the job description. Don’t take this time to tell them everything you have done. Instead, give them a preview, a glimpse, a teaser that will make them want to know more. Ideally, it should be under two minutes.
“I am a Transition Coach with over ten years of experience in recruitment and coaching. I empower people in their jobs, careers or business by giving them clarity, strategies and tools for success and make them accountable. I possess excellent listening skills and tailor each session to the individual. Since 2017 I have coached over 500 clients with their job search and their transition into a new job, career or business. I am seeking a transition coach or consulting position with a Canadian organization, and I am looking forward to working with you.”
The interviewer is hooked and wants to know more. This is where the interview process starts.
As you can see, having one elevator speech or one pitch is not very effective. Instead, you need to polish, review and reframe your introduction by first understanding who your audience is. What do you want them to understand most about you, and how do you make that connection to facilitate future engaging interactions? I often say that clarity has power. Clarity about you and who you are, as well as the value, skills and strengths you have to offer, is imperative when you show up in the world. I also recommend this book: The 20-Minute Networking Meeting Learn to network, which has a lot of great ideas on networking one-on-one.
“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I realize I should have been more specific.” – Lily Tomlin
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