You only get one chance to make a good first impression!
“Mark, why don't you say a few words about yourself to kick things off?” Your stomach drops to the floor. It's the first day of your new job and you've just been asked to say hello to a room full of strangers. All eyes turn to you as you fidget and don't know where to start.
Knowing how to introduce yourself in a professional setting can be tough. If you're out of practice or have never done this before, you may be stumped. Don't panic! We have the answers you've been looking for. In the following guide, we'll reveal how you can give a personal introduction at work (with examples), the mistakes to avoid, and how you can introduce yourself in writing. Read on to learn how to get this workplace etiquette right.
Tips on how to introduce yourself
If you've been asked to introduce yourself in a professional environment, you may have no clue where to begin. Often enough, people open their mouths and fail to think before they speak. Should you be extremely lucky, a poised personal introduction will come spilling out as though by magic. But, let's face it, you're more likely to end up rambling on about nothing in particular. To help you to avoid this common problem, here are our top tips:
Start with the basics
First things first, you need to cover the basics: your name and your job title. You might want to throw in how long you've been in the sector. For example, you could say “Hey, I'm Jeremy and I've been working as a Data Scientist for more than a decade.” That single sentence tells your audience who you are, what you do, and how experienced you are.
If you skip over this part of your introduction and cut to the chase, everyone is going to be sitting there thinking “Wait, who's this, again?” You don't want to make that mistake. When you're working out how to introduce yourself, don't get too in your own head about it. Missing out the basic information will put you on the back foot, and you don't want that.
Next, add in your value
Now that people know who you are and what you do, it's time to get down to the good stuff. What have you come here to do today? For example, if you are a new starter, what plans do you have for the business? Should you have come from another department, what was the reason? In short, let people know what value you're bringing with you.
Say what you've achieved
Building upon that, you may want to add in what you've achieved in your career so far. While you don't have to start reeling off your CV here, you can touch upon some of your most impressive achievements. Don't be afraid to sing your own praises.
Talk clearly about the results you've delivered in past workplaces and relate it back to this one. For instance, you might say, “At my previous company, my workflow system improved efficiency by 22% and I hope to achieve a similar result here.” Let people know what you're all about, what you've come here to do, and why they should pay attention.
Be friendly and open
Nobody wants to talk to a negative Nancy. Remember, this is the first time you'll be meeting these other professionals - you need to make the right first impression. If you come across as cold and unapproachable, that's the only thing they'll remember from your personal introduction. You will quickly be labelled as the aloof newcomer.
Before you start speaking, take a deep breath and smile. Something as small and simple as that can make a gigantic difference to how you are perceived. When you think about how to introduce yourself, don't neglect the human side of things. You can see this as an opportunity to flex your people skills and make some new professional contacts to boot.
Practice makes perfect
Since you already have the main points down, there's one last thing you have to remember. You have to practise ways to introduce yourself. Your personal introduction should feel natural to you. Giving it a go - in front of a mirror or a trusted friend - will help you to ensure that it sounds right. You can use this as a time to work out the kinks.
When you're reciting your short introduction about yourself, it gives you the chance to determine which parts are important and which parts you can ditch. You can also work on the wording here: if something sounds off to you, change it. There's nothing wrong with giving it a good few drafts before you land on the final introduction you'll be using.
Common mistakes to avoid
By now, you may be eager to get started and plan your personal introduction. Hold your horses for a minute. Before you rush ahead, there are some common mistakes that you need to know about, so that you can avoid them. Here are four that you can neatly side-step:
Speaking way too fast
If you're nervous or want to get it over and done with, you might be guilty of this mistake. Speaking fast hardly screams authority. Instead, it tells your audience that you don't have confidence or conviction in what you're saying here. Take a breath and slow things down.
Look around at the room while you're speaking and make eye contact - but not in a creepy way! As you're making each point, look at the people in front of you and make sure that they are listening to what you have to say. This approach means that you'll naturally start to slow down your speech and that you will connect with the listeners.
Trying to be funny
Chances are, you're no Joe Lycett. So, don't try to be. Packing your personal introduction with silly jokes and hilarious anecdotes is hardly going to win you any respect. And, as anyone who's been to a bad comedy gig will know, when a joke falls flat, it can be painful. While you can add a dash of humour to your introduction, this can be a real risk. Avoid putting yourself in that position full stop, and instead stick to the hard facts.
Just “winging it" on the day
Are you someone who crosses their fingers and hopes for the best? Now is certainly not your time to shine. Winging it might work a small percentage of the time for a select group of people. However, most of the time, it makes you look unprepared and unprofessional.
You can never tell when you're about to be caught off guard. For that reason, it's worth having a nifty personal introduction up your sleeve. That way, should anyone ask you to introduce yourself out of the blue, you'll be ready with a perfected speech.
Having closed body language
Crossing your arms and turning away from the room is not the way to go. More than half of all communication is nonverbal. Yes, people will read far more into the way you're standing, whether you are making eye contact, and your facial expression than you might expect. Adopt a relaxed stance and make sure that you're facing the room here. Your body language should be open, showing that you're an approachable professional.
6 ways to introduce yourself in person: examples
Ready to get cracking? When you're asked to introduce yourself, you need to have your boilerplate answer at the ready. However, it's hard to know where to start with this task. With that in mind, we have some inspiration for you in the form of six effective examples.
Example 1: Clearly state what you're bringing to the table
“Hey, I'm Jessica and I'm the new Social Media Executive. I've been working in creative agencies for six years, since I graduated from university. Most recently I was at Harbour and Smith where I was lucky enough to lead campaigns for Lush, Swift Drinks, and Birdhouse Coffee. I specialise in viral video marketing, with my last campaign seeing a reach of more than a million, and I'm keen to achieve similar results here.”
Example 2: Tell them what you plan to do
“Hello, I'm Mark and I've been working in social research for almost a decade now with various third-sector companies. I've been brought on board to streamline the existing research protocol and increase the overall capacity. I've heard great things about the work the department is doing currently and hope that I can add value to their efforts.”
Example 3: Say what you hope to learn here
“Hey, I'm Natasha, the new Admin Intern. I'm pretty new to office work, having previously worked on the shop floor at Hotel Chocolat. However, I'm a fast learner and am eager to get up to speed on the processes here. I am ready to learn from the existing team.”
Example 4: Talk about your specialisms
“Hi, I'm Paula and I'm joining the content team here at Innocent Drinks. I've been working in content marketing for seven years and was most recently working for the Body Shop. I specialise in creating explainer videos and guides for wide audiences. I'm looking forward to doing more of that with your team and am excited to learn about your unique approach.”
Example 5: Be thankful for the opportunity
“Hey, I'm Adnan and I'm part of the sales team. I've been working in sales and marketing since I left college, for around 13 years, and absolutely love it. I enjoy getting to know clients, understanding their needs, and finding the right solutions for them. I'm grateful to join the team at Martin Co. and can't wait to work alongside you all.”
Example 6: Flesh out your role
“Hey, I'm Danny, the new Head of Business Development. For those of you who don't know me, I've transferred over from Kelham House. I'll be leading the team and looking for new opportunities in the commercial market. I've got 10-plus years experience in the industry and I'm looking forward to working alongside each of you.”
Getting over the public speaking jitters
We won't beat around the bush - talking in front of a group of professionals can be utterly stomach-churning. The fear of public speaking, or glossophobia if you want to get technical about it, affects around 77% of people. You're certainly not alone in this struggle.
While there's no magic spell that will make this easier, there are some things you can try. Before you start speaking, take a moment to steady yourself. Breathe in deeply and try to keep as calm as you can. Remind yourself that the other people are not there to judge you. These professionals are eager to hear what you have to say. They are not the enemy.
When you start speaking, if you notice yourself rushing ahead, try to bring your attention back into the room. Focus on one or two people in the space, and make eye contact with them. This trick is a quick way to calm your nerves and bring yourself back to a calm state.
How to write an introduction about yourself
We've covered how to introduce yourself in person, but it doesn't end there. If you're emailing someone or writing a cover letter, you may want to perfect your introduction. You can include the details we've highlighted above. However, keep in mind the following:
Use formal language
Written communication is usually more formal than spoken communication. Rather than saying “Hi” or “Hello,” for example, you should go for the more professional-sounding “Dear.” You can adjust the style of your language to make sure it fits the bill here.
Split the introduction up
Your personal introduction covers who you are, what experience you've got, and what you plan to do. When you're writing, it's much easier to split these elements up into separate paragraphs or sentences. You can follow that structure to keep things simple.
Keep it short and sweet
Are you a real wordsmith? If you tend to get carried away when you're writing, you might need to do some heavy editing. Think of your personal introduction as an elevator pitch. It shouldn't be too long or meandering. Instead, you need to stick to just a few sentences.
Introducing yourself to other professionals doesn't have to be hard. While you might find the idea daunting, our guide has given you all of the tools you need to succeed. Your personal introduction doesn't have to be long - it simply has to cover the main points about you. Avoid overthinking this and consider what you want people to know about you. Take a look at our examples for inspiration and start drafting yours today.
Ready to introduce yourself to a new career? Why not give yourself a head start by sending your CV over for a free CV review to make sure it's on point!