How to Introduce Yourself to Hold A Conversation


Introducing yourself is a common act, especially if you work outside the home or attend any kind of social events. There are different courtesies on how to introduce yourself, depending on the situation. You will definitely introduce yourself differently to a prospective employer, than you would to a new friend at the bar.

If you've always been wondering if you've been doing it right, you can now learn how to introduce yourself in some of the most common situations you may end up in. It's definitely more than shaking someone's hand and giving them your first name. Plus, what do you talk about once introductions are over?


The Anatomy of an Introduction


There is an art to introductions, whether you're introducing yourself or introducing other people to one another. For this discussion, you'll learn about introducing yourself, in numerous situations.

Two Women on Separate Benches Talking

First, you need to see a breakdown of what introducing yourself looks like. This will help you determine which type of introduction will work in any given situation.

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    Your Lead In – You can start with “Hello,” or something like “Have we met before?”. The latter is more for casual encounters, and it's not the only option in such a situation. “Hello” is the proper beginning in a business setting (skip saying the shortened, “Hi.”).
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    Who Are You? – Your name is the next part of the introduction. The whole point is to let people know who you are. In casual meetings, just use your first name. In business, you may use first and last (like for an interview) or just your last name with your title (Mr.. Mrs., Ms., Doctor, etc.).
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    The Return Greeting – After they say who they are, always make sure to let them know it's nice to have met them.
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    More Info – If you're there for an interview, you may want to specify that. If you're at a business mixer, you may want to follow your greeting with something about what you do for a living.
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    Commence Small Talk – If this is a casual thing, small talk is usually the first base once you hit that introduction. “What do you think of this heat we're having?”

Again, different situations will call for different salutations and different types of post-talk once your greeting has been “announced.”


Introducing Yourself in Business Settings


There are different types of business-related settings in which you'll find yourself needing to talk to people you don't know. Just remember – it's rude to start talking to a new person before you introduce yourself. Here are some specifics.


1. Interviews


When you show up someplace for an interview it's pretty likely you're going to need to introduce yourself to at least a couple of people. There'll be the person at the front desk that will need to know who you are and why you're there, even before you meet the person that's going to interview you. Then, you might even come back for a second interview with someone else.

When you get there, let the person at the door/desk/counter/whatever know your name and that you're there for an interview. If you know the name of the specific person you're interviewing with, give them that as well. Your conversation with this person ends here – you don't need any small talk.

Once you meet the person that's going to interview you, you'll do the greeting thing all over again. Shake hands, even if you make the first move (sturdy handshakes make a better impression than limp ones). In interview introductions, you always want to use both your first and last name. “Hi, I'm John Smith. It's nice to meet you.”

There's really no room for small talk in an interview. Stick with the topic at hand – the available position, and why you're the right person to fill it.


2. Networking


Networking groups are a big thing right now. If you're a freelancer or entrepreneur, you should be attending as many of them as you can – it's a great way to get the name of your business out into the world, and make connections (connections make you money).

You'll be introducing yourself a lot at these events. Make sure you bring your business cards (they help a ton, and ensure people remember you when the event is over). Start with your name and what you do for a living, follow with some business related “small talk,” like how you help others or how you're looking to expand your business.


3. Meetings


Business meetings will sometimes take you to new locations, where you'll need to talk to people that work for the same company, collaborators that may want to work with your business or new clients. You need some pro introduction skills to make sure you come off as a business person that knows what they're doing.

You'll start your introduction with your first and last name and who you are in what company. Once the greetings are done, talk of business (not small talk) with commence.


Introducing Yourself in Casual Settings 


Business settings aren't the only places where you'll need to introduce yourself to people. If you go out for a night on the town with the intention of making new friends and meeting new people, you'll have to know how to introduce yourself.

When it comes to casual introductions, leave your last name out of it unless you're at a private party. You don't need to give your last name out freely. In fact, it's safer not to in some cases.


1. At a Bar/Party


Casual settings don't require any kind of formal introductions, even though you may make some great connections. If you're drinking, you could forget to do proper introductions, so there's really no reason to fret about it.

As stated already, use only your first name. Strangers in a casual setting, especially if you might never see them again, don't need your last name. If you hit it off and start talking again on a second meeting, then you can swap last names (giving your last name allows them to look you up online and on social media – with the risk of stalkers you don't want to give anyone you don't know that kind of access to your life and information).


2. At a Friend's Home


If you're going to a party or get-together at a friend's home, like a graduation party or a wedding, you're probably going to meet at least a few people you don't already know. Your friends and family members have friends that you may not know.

When you introduce yourself at a family or friend's event, you can use your first and last name. Follow that up with who you are to the person hosting the party.  Smaller events will likely have you being introduced to others by the host, but they may not have a chance to introduce everyone, if there are a lot of people there.


Keeping the Conversation Going

Group Meeting

Things shouldn't stop after introductions. Unless you're at a busy event where you need to keep moving down the line, you need to take some time to get to know the people you're meeting. Here are some conversation suggestions for each of the situations above.


1. At Interviews


If your interview gets to the point of awkward silence, ask some questions. This shows that you are truly interested in the job. Ask about the history of the business, how they invest in the community, and what benefits they offer their employees when it comes to wellness and learning.


2. During Networking Events


You've already told the people you've met what you do for a living, make sure you're finding out what they do too. Consider the ways you can collaborate with them and talk about those similarities in your businesses.


3. In Business Meetings


Don't do all the talking in a business meeting, even if you're the one hosting the meeting. Ask questions of the other people in the meetings. Get suggestions and feedback from anyone that wants to offer some.


4. At the Bar or a Party


You can talk about pretty much anything at the bar or at a casual party. Talk about the song that's playing, the current weather, the last sport you played or watched, or the drink you're drinking.


5. At Your Friend's House


Since you're meeting people that are friends with your friends or relatives, talk about more personal topics. Talk about the names your friend is considering for their baby or the first time you met the guy they're marrying. Talk about how you love the way your cousin decorated your house, or how perfect the park is for this family reunion.


One Final Thought


Be confident in yourself. Confidence in a greeting will show through as a steady voice at an audible level (this will depend on where you're at), and a sturdy handshake shows you mean business.


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