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    Many times when we are called on to introduce ourselves, we feel self-conscious or tongue-tied, and wish we could have a “do-over.” It doesn’t have to be that way. Whenever you meet people for the first time, whether they are audience members, prospective customers, or colleagues from other organizations, you’ll want to introduce yourself in a way that creates a positive first impression. Here are some tips on acing this part of your communication.

    When introducing yourself:

    • Develop an elevator speech. Create two or three different self-intros you could use in different situations. Rehearse these out loud, preferably on video or with someone who can give you feedback. First impressions are so important you may not want to leave this to chance. Don’t try to memorize a script word for word, just work to increase your comfort and fluency.
    • Plan ahead. If you know you will be doing intros, think about the environment and the audience and decide which parts of your background will be most interesting and pertinent. Speak to those points, and don’t try to give your entire life history.
    • Listen while others speak. If everyone is introducing themselves, listen to them rather than thinking about what you are going to say. Give them the courtesy they deserve, and the gift of your focus. You won’t forget who you are.
    • Speak your name clearly and firmly. If it is unusual, spell it out or tell what it rhymes with. You will make yourself more memorable that way. You might even refer to your name one other time to cement it in their memories.
    • The law of three. Provide 2-3 brief facts about yourself, and include one personal fact, such as your passion for technology, or your love of travel. This can create a bridge to your audience, as long as you select a personal tidbit that might appeal to them, or at least one that won’t be offensive or off-putting.
    • Say it like you mean it. Use downward inflections, which sound certain, rather than upward inflections, which sound like questions. (“Hello? I am Susan Jones? and I work for Brown Packaging?”) Instead, state each sentence as an important, sure thing.
    • Be cool. Remember to relax, breathe, and smile, even if you are feeling uncomfortable. You are making new friends, not taking a test.

    Remember that introducing yourself can be fun and easy if you stay calm and help put others at ease.