Last month, while speaking at the National Communication Association conference in New Orleans, I noticed an anomaly about conference sessions that presented an opportunity most people seem to ignore. You’ve all been there. Have you ever attended a meeting where the room is filled with people you might not have met before? Often the speaker will begin by asking attendees to introduce themselves. Most people will stand and say, “Hello! My name is NAME and I work for NAME OF COMPANY where I am the NAME OF JOB.” At this point, the person takes a seat, and the next person stands to repeat the very same type of introduction. By the time you have listened to thirty people introduce themselves in this way, you cannot remember many of their names, where they work, or what they do. Sure, some of them may stand out, but most of the introductions are lost. How can you meet the challenge of a self-introduction when someone asks “Tell me about yourself?” Do you have a plan?
As a member of the Georgia Continuing Education Association (GCEA), I’ve encountered this many times and I’ve added a section about this in the Workplace Communication Skills course that I teach for industry leaders. As you wrap up the year and begin looking toward 2023, I thought that you might like to know how to conquer this challenge. Afterall, this could be your grand opportunity for a conversation starter with a new potential employer. At the very least, it becomes the chance to network with others.
- Plan an introduction that lasts about 15 seconds and carries a simple message. Think of this as an abbreviated elevator speech.
- Provide a greeting and start by asking the audience a question that will help them connect with the type of work that you do.
- Share your name but make the message catchy and memorable.
- Avoid telling them just a company name; instead, tell them the value you bring to the organization. This proves credibility for your craft and will be the reason they may seek you out after the session is over.
Here is an example of how I introduce myself at a conference:
Good morning! Thanks for asking who I am and what I do, but do you mind if I ask you a question? Have you ever been to a conference and watched a speaker who was great at sharing their message and passion for the topic? You know the speaker that I’m talking about, right? Well, I’m the person they hire to craft, rehearse, and deliver presentations that leaves the audience wanting more! My name is Dr. Penny Joyner Waddell, but my friends and colleagues call me the SpeechShark. It is nice to meet you!
I hope this quick example will help as you introduce yourself at the next meeting or conference that you attend. Tips like these are the kind of things we share at our monthly Georgia Continuing Education Association meetings and at our yearly conference. We would love for you to join us. In fact, make this your new year’s resolution! I can’t think of a better way to begin the new year than with a new set of friends who can help you reach your 2023 goals! For more information, contact us through our website https://gacea.org/ or call President Cher Brister at 678-226-6756. Happy Holidays!
2023 Georgia Continuing Education Association (GCEA) CONFERENCE
Dates: April 20 & 21, 2023
Location: Savannah, Georgia
Key-note Speaker: Nick Sunshine Tokman from the Discovery Channel’s Emmy Award Winning Show “Deadliest Catch”