How to craft a killer professional introduction (Part I)—whether you’ve got 30 seconds or 2 minutes
Real Talk: How often have you been asked in an interview or some sort of networking situation:
“What do you do?” Or “Tell me about yourself…”
(A million times, right?)
And how often have you responded with something like: “Hi, my name’s ____, I work at [company] as [role]…”
Now, I’m not suggesting there’s anything wrong with that response. But I am suggesting that there’s more to that response.
Why? Because you’re way more interesting than that!
You owe it to yourself (and everyone who has the privilege of meeting you!) to be more intentional about how you share who you are and what you do.
The goal is to help whoever you’re speaking to store an accurate and memorable picture of who you are in their brain. (It’s an art and a science!)
Wanna learn how to do just that?
Watch this quick video clip and complete the “Accordion” Exercise below to elevate your elevator pitch today.
You’ll learn how to flesh out your professional introduction, so that next time someone asks you what you do or what your professional background is, you know *exactly* what to say and how to say it.
(Hint: your intro shouldn’t just help people understand what you do. It should give people a sense of who you are!)
To sum it up: the first step in customizing your introduction is to build out the accordion-style version.
Meaning: The short, medium, and long versions of your most straightforward introduction.
Next week, we’ll focus more on how to adapt it to different audiences, but for now, let’s flesh out your most expanded accordion-style introduction, so you can crop it from there.
Take action: elevate your elevator pitch for any audience using the steps below.
I’d highly encourage you to take 5 minutes, grab a pen and paper, and use the following prompts to build out the most authentic and intriguing version of your introduction.
The science behind writing things down doesn’t lie: when you write something down you’re twice as likely to act on it!
Let’s do this.
How to build your 1-2 minute professional introduction in four simple steps:
- What’s a “fun history fact” about you?
Think: a signature quality or passion that everyone who’s close to you knows about you. Example: I’m a native New Yorker. I was born and raised here and I started my career as an actor performing in the national tour of a Broadway musical.
- What company do you work for? Or what companies have you worked for? Sum up what that/those company(ies) stand for in 1-2 sentences.
Example: I work for SelfSpoken which is a communication coaching company for big-hearted go-getters. We provide individuals and teams around the world with the practical tools and targeted coaching they need to articulate themselves clearly and confidently in all of their interactions – from high-stakes public speaking engagements to casual conversations. We’re all about helping people build a speaking skillset they can rely on in any situation, especially the “pressureful” ones, so they feel more in charge of how they’re coming across to others, and can express their ideas as effectively and authentically as possible.
- What are/were you responsible for in your most recent role?
(Stay tuned for next week’s post, we’re gonna go even deeper into this one because it’s critical!)
Example: I’m the Founder & CEO of SelfSpoken so I’m responsible for setting the vision for our company, designing and building out the curriculum for our training packages and online courses, and showing up for our incredible clients as their coach, online course instructor, and secret weapon 😉
- What aspect of your job (or line of work) are you most passionate about? Why?
Example: Nothing lights me up more than empowering people from every background, industry, and career stage, to move away from self-doubt and toward deepened self-confidence. Because I’ve been there. From performing on national stages to coaching executives in c-suites, I’ve experienced the anxiety that comes with putting yourself out there and not knowing how it’ll go. I use SelfSpoken techniques to turn my own panic into power and every day pressures into presence. Like all of us, I’m a work in progress. But when the waves of adrenaline or the whispers of self-doubt inevitably flood my system, I know what I need to do in order to find my own communication sweet spot: that empowering and fulfilling experience of coming across like a pro while staying true to the real, imperfect human being I know I am. I’m on a mission to teach others to do the same.
Great, now let’s practice shrinking it down…
How do you contract your introduction and nail the shorter, 90-second version?
Grab your favorite two sentences (or “nuggets”) from each section above and weave them together in a way that feels most natural to you…
Now let’s say you’re part of a massive Zoom meeting, so you really only have a small slice of time to fill everyone in on who you are and what you do…
How can you nail your professional introduction when you only have 30 seconds?
Grab your favorite sentence (or “nugget”) from each section above and weave them together in a way that feels most natural to you.
Example: Hi, my name’s Brenne. I’m a native New Yorker and I started my career as an actor in the National Tour of a Broadway musical. I’m the Founder and CEO of Selfspoken which is a communication coaching company for big-hearted go-getters. We provide individuals and teams with the practical tools and targeted coaching they need to articulate themselves more clearly and confidently in all of their interactions – from high-stakes public speaking engagements to casual conversations. Nothing lights me up more than empowering people from every background, industry, and career stage, to move away from self-doubt and toward deepened self-confidence. And not in an abstract, “woo-woo” kind of way, but in a completely practical and holistic way – the way you’d build any skill – through repetition and practice.
Warning: trying on a new introduction, might feel a little choppy at first. That’s ok!
Just keep experimenting with your favorite parts from the exercise above, and eventually, you’ll settle into it.
Congrats! You now have an accordion-style introduction that you can expand and contract as you see fit!
Just by doing the exercise above, I guarantee that next time you introduce yourself, you’ll be way more intentional about the information you’re sharing, and what you want the other person to take away.
This, in and of itself, will make you more effective at painting an authentic, nuanced picture of who you are and what your work is all about.
If you know someone who’s preparing for virtual interviews right now, and they could benefit from these tips, please pass this post along and encourage them to sign up for my E-Tribe (my insider-only email list) below. You’ll both receive Part II of this two-part series on introductions in your inbox next Wednesday!
It’s a challenging time to be looking for work, and if there’s anything I can do to make the process easier or more empowering for you or someone awesome you know—I’d love to help in any way I can!
In the meantime, keep showing up as the YOU, you most want to be. One intention, one interaction at a time.
Thanks so much for being here and for doing the work. I can’t wait to see you back here next week for Part II of this professional introduction series.
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