The question “What do you do?” is one of the most common ones that come up in both social and professional settings. In fact, this question is so routine that many people say their name and their job title without giving it much thought. Even though this response is the cultural norm, it gives the other person little information to help him or her make a personal connection.
Consider These Examples of Memorable Introductions Instead
Instead of providing a name and job title that may quickly be forgotten, the person answering the question can use it as more of an opportunity to find common ground with the one making the inquiry. The introduction should always match the social backdrop of the situation.
For example, someone introducing themselves at a social gathering such as a wedding should mention how he or she knows the couple and then wait for the other person to offer the same information. The two people meeting for the first time might even discover they went to the same college or both worked with the bride or groom at some point.
In a business situation, respondents should go beyond offering what they do to giving more information about who they are. One way to accomplish this is by using a before and after statement such as “I’m a merger and acquisition specialist who works with two separate companies to bring them together as a single entity.”
The before portion of the statement indicates that two unique companies existed before a merger and the speaker successful transformed them into a single business with a shared strategy.
Telling a generic client story can also work well for an introduction in a business setting. The person introducing himself or herself could say something such as “I’m a consultant who works with businesses to become more productive.
Currently, I’m implementing strategies with a company that has seen a 59 percent increase in employee productivity.” This statement shows what the speaker if capable of within a matter of seconds.
Introduction Tips for Different Situations
The type of introduction a business professional makes depends on whether it’s in person, over the phone, or in written form. When one person introduces two or more people who have never met, making eye contact and offering a handshake are acceptable as well as expected in Western culture.
Each party offering a smile goes a long way towards breaking any unspoken tension during the encounter as well. The handshake should be firm while eye contact should break after a few seconds to avoid awkwardness for either party. However, it’s vitally important to make eye contact initially to promote a feeling of trust.
Email introductions can be less stressful because both parties have time to consider what they want to say. The person sending the email should first obtain permission through a mutual connection that both parties know.
This is the best way to ensure the email doesn’t end up in a spam folder or the trash bin without the recipient ever opening or reading it. The email should start with a brief introduction and then immediately state the purpose.
Reaching someone by phone for the first time isn’t always easy since many professionals have gatekeepers that screen calls. Some also let calls go to voicemail if they don’t recognize the originating phone number.
When the intended person does pick up the phone, the person making the call should not waste time with small talk and get to the purpose of the call after making a quick introduction.
Focus on the Other Person When Making a Sales Call
Introducing yourself to a sales prospect for the first time differs from any of the other scenarios mentioned. The salesperson needs to first pique interest by inviting the person on the other end to pay attention. Immediately stating the reason for the call is one way to achieve this.
The caller should then shift the focus to the recipient of the call by asking him or her about some current challenges. This provides the ideal opening to discuss solutions and inspire the recipient of the call to act by setting up a sales call.
The bulk of the conversation should focus on the person accepting the call and how the caller can help rather than discuss his or her own accomplishments.
An introduction in any setting may take only a few seconds but taking the time to get it right could have a lasting positive impact.