We’ve all been there. That conference or that Chamber of Commerce meeting where the host is, “OK, before we start, let’s all stand up and introduce ourselves for 30 seconds.” It seems simple, it seems casual and no one is asking you to give a big keynote speech. And still our heart is racing like a Maserati. We’re not even listening to the other people because we are thinking about what to say when it is our turn.
So, how to introduce yourself in a presentation without it being awkward? The main goal of the introduction speech is to be remembered. Therefore, focus on the audience, introduce a problem that actually creates a little emotion and that people can relate to and show them how you solve these problems.
Now, if you read the first paragraph of this post and if you ever experienced what I described, you know exactly what I’m talking about. Therefore, today I’m going to teach you exactly how to introduce yourself in a presentation. So, let’s dive in.
Three Possible Outcomes of the Introduction Speech
Here is the reality when it comes to simple introduction speeches: there are three possible outcomes for every single introduction speech you give.
#1 You make an awful impression.
You’re stammering, your tongue-tied and you can’t say anything. You’re like, “Oh, I’m so nervous!” and therefore you say something stupid and inarticulate.
That happens every once in a while. I can think of maybe three-four times in my life but that’s pretty rare. So, you should remember that, chances are, you’re really not going to do that.
#2 You say something interesting and memorable
And since you said something that is interesting, people want to come up to you afterwards, introduce themselves and give you their card.
That’s great. That’s an ideal scenario.
Unfortunately, that also doesn’t happen very often but that’s what you’re going to be able to do after reading this post.
#3 Nobody remembers anything you said
Usually it goes like this. You stand up and say, “Hello, my name is blah-blah-blah. I work at company blah-blah-blah and we do blah-blah-blah…”
Then you sit down and the result is that nobody remembers anything that you just said. They don’t remember your name or the name of your company and they don’t remember what you do.
In fact, you sounded like Charlie Brown’s teacher, “Wah-wah-wah, wah-wah-wah.”
It’s all generic stuff and that’s the real danger for most of us. It’s not that we give a bad impression or a horrible promotion or people see our hands shaking, but nevertheless it’s a lost opportunity to make an impression.
Main mistakes lots of people do while introducing themselves during a presentation
Here’s how most people introduce themselves at networking events and professional associations:
- Hi, my name is…
- I am the CEO of…
- My company does…
- I really appreciate being here today and meeting you all…
#1 Your introduction is boring
What’s wrong with the way people usually introduce themselves? It’s awful and it’s boring.
They start off and everything they say is about themselves and it is boring.
#2 Your introduction makes no impression
The real danger is we make no impression at all. We’ve taken time to go across town to some meeting to possibly meet people to try to advance our organization and to make new contacts and…we blew it.
That’s just not a good idea. That’s why we need a plan and that’s why we need to rehearse.
#3 You talk too much about yourself
You start off by introducing yourself. The problem is that nobody at this stage of the relationship cares about your name. No one really cares about your title, either. The problem with this kind of introduction is that is all about “me, me, me.”
Why in the world do you think anyone would care about that? It’s boring and it’s unmemorable.
#4 Your introduction speech generates no response
Now, I have to point out though, that even if you give an introduction just like I described above then nobody would be thinking “Wow! That guy’s awful. That’s horrible. That’s boring!”
I don’t think it would generate that sort of reaction. The reaction it would generate is that the upcoming speakers will not listen to you and instead think about what they’re going to say next.
So, it would create no response from the audience. And that’s our real danger here.
Our danger is not breaking out in a sweat, fainting and having to be carted out of the room. The real danger is that nobody remembers your speech even two seconds later and later no one has a reason to come speak to you.
#5 You use acronyms or initials
There’s also a possibility that you’re using an acronym or initials. This is frankly a big problem with a lot of associations.
“Hi I’m A.M. Jefferson from the ABTF unit and I’ve blah-blah-blah…” Well… no one outside your organization knows what the ABTF is and it’s just confusing.
So, my advice to you: other than M.D., I wouldn’t use any initials to introduce yourself.
What is the main goal of the introduction speech?
Now you would like to know know to introduce yourself in a presentation without it being awkward? For starters, don’t start with your name, your rank, your title, the history of your company and an abstract list of services. That’s what most people do.
The main goal of the introducing yourself is being remembered. Your goal, again, is not just somehow to get through the introduction and your goal is not to embarrass people or embarrass yourself in the introduction.
Your goal is to make people remember something about you and have something to talk about later. They should have a reason to come up to you and give you their card or to start a conversation.
That is the goal of a self-introduction. How to accomplish that? I’m going to tell you what to do in just a moment, so keep reading.
How to Introduce Yourself in a Presentation in a way that will be Remembered?
So, I’ve shown you the wrong way of introducing yourself; now let me demonstrate how I introduce myself during a presentation. Of course, there are lots of other ways you can do it but this is how I usually to it.
“Imagine that somebody calls you today and wonts you to be a speaker at a conference like this one today. You have only 20 minutes to deliver your message. Are you absolutely confident that your message will be interesting and memorable to your audience?
Hi, I’m Janek Tuttar and I teach people how to speak in front of audiences to get the results that they want.
If you give me a business card at the end of the meeting, I will give you free access to my online public speaking course.”
That’s it. That is how I introduce myself if I’m at a typical business meeting, speaker’s conference, etc. and everyone is asked to go around in 20 or 30 seconds to introduce themselves.
Now, is that a spellbinding oratory and everyone’s going to go, “Oh, wow! He’s the best speaker ever!”
No! But there are a number of things about that introduction speech that worked for me and can work for you. And by the way – that whole introduction takes usually less than 30 seconds.
Focus on the need people have
For starters, I didn’t start with my name because everybody starts with his/her name. Instead, I focused on the audience.
“Imagine that somebody calls you today and wants you to be a speaker at a conference like this one today.”
People can visualize that, and this way I’m talking about the audience – not me.
This is a basic public speaking tip. Anytime you talk about your audience rather than yourself, you’re winning. People care about themselves more than they care about you, the speaker.
It’s nerve racking to think, “Wow, I have to up on stage and talk to 500 people… Oh my gosh! I don’t want to look like a fool. “
Whether it’s happened to them, to a close friend, family member – if there was a public speaking experience involved, they weren’t quite sure how it would turn out.
So, that the first principle:
- I talked about the audience
- I introduced a problem that actually created a little emotion
- I introduced a problem that people could relate to
Show them how you solve this need
“I will give you free access to my online public speaking course”
I’m not asking them to whip out a checkbook or a credit card, so I don’t seem self-serving. Also, this way, I’ve given people an excuse to come up to me.
“Hi, Janek. Nice to meet you. Here’s my card… I would love to take a look at that online course.”
Now we have a conversation because they remember what I do.
Figure out how you can talk about what you do through the eyes of someone in the audience.
Pay attention…this works for me! I’m not saying that you have to say it exactly like this, but you should remember the basic formula:
- what are people’s needs
- how am I going to help them meet these needs?
I realize not everyone is a writer, but I do think if you try hard you should be able to come up with something that’s useful.
For example: if you are a small business owner working from home, it could be the top 10 tips for reducing your taxes. That might be something that people would then come up to you and say, “Yeah, I would like these tips. Can you send them to me?”
So, that’s my recommendation to you: figure out how you can talk about what you do through the eyes of someone in the audience.
- The hook
- The second part
- What is an easy and non-threatening way for people to approach you?
How to rehearse the introduction speech?
Now the part you’re not going to like. But it’s the most important part if you want to become a master at introduction speeches.
Practice in front of a video camera and record yourself
I need you to grab your cell phone, or any other video camera, and I need you to practice your introduction so you get captured on video. I know you don’t want to do it because, “Oh, I don’t like my voice and I look weird on video!” etc.
Guess what? Everyone in that room to whom you’re introducing yourself has to hear your voice. They have to see your face so you’re not hiding anything with them. You’re only hiding from yourself.
So, you’ve got to bite the bullet. Nobody likes to do this and nobody likes the sound of his/her own voice. But it’s the only way to be supremely confident when you’re introducing yourself.
It’s the only way to know if you’re being too soft or if you’re playing with your ring finger or if you’re rocking back and forth.
Therefore, you’ve got to do it on video. It’s not going to be worth your while unless you do this one step.
Make a list of things you like and things you don’t like
Now I need you to watch your video and I need you to figure out what worked well and what should be corrected. Make a list of things you like and things you don’t like.
If you’ve done that you should now be feeling pretty comfortable and fairly confident about your introduction speech and your ability to introduce yourself in front of a group of people.
Ask for feedback from a friend
Now, let’s do one more test.
Take the best video that you made of yourself and e-mail it to several friends. First, I want you to call a friend, then e-mail it to him/her immediately and say, “Hey Bill (or “Hey Sandy”) I just emailed you a short video. Can you take a quick look because I really need your feedback. This video is only 30 seconds long.”
Ideally, they’re at a computer where they can actually click on it, watch it and hear it while you’re on the phone. Then, right after they’ve seen and heard it, ask them for some feedback:
- “What did you like?”
- “What do you remember?”
- “What would you do differently?”
See what they say. If they just say, “Oh, everything was professional and great,” then this usually means that you probably didn’t say something interesting.
Ask your friend for specifics
You want them talking about the specific things you mentioned – the hook. You also want them to say, “Well, you seem relaxed and comfortable.”
Ideally they will comment that they didn’t even know you had that special report or that book you’re giving away and they’d like it themselves.
I would also ask if there’s anything they don’t like. If they say, “Well, you seem scared,” or that, “The product your giving away sounds really cheesy and it sounds like an infomercial,” then you should consider what to change about your introduction speech.
Listen to what they have to say but it doesn’t mean you should change everything just based on their opinion. Therefore, here’s my challenge to you.
I want you to call five people and try to talk to at least three. Let’s get some independent verification from others telling you what the message is, what they get it from it and whether they like it.
The feedback you receive and improvements you make will further boost your confidence and you’re going to be fantastic the next time you have to introduce yourself.
Bonus tip: don’t memorize your introduction speech
If you are standing in front of 12 people, introducing yourself might not seem as scary as standing in front of 1000 people, but it still takes most people out of their comfort zone.
When you’re feeling nervous, your palms and feet get sweaty and your whole body is telling you “run!” Adrenaline is flowing and your brain tells you to get out of here.
When that happens, your mental faculties shut down because your body is saying, “Run! Don’t think!”
Therefore, my advice to you is: don’t memorize your introduction speech because that’s extra work and that’s extra stress. It’s hard to deliver it without sounding like you are reading a canned speech, or you have memorized something, so don’t do it.
Instead, focus on the idea you want to communicate and just talk it through in a conversational way.
And you know what? When you’re in these meetings, instead of worrying about your introduction speech, you can actually listen to this person over there, about what they do and what they have to offer. Also, you now may have a good reason why you may want to go out and talk to that person afterwards.
Final thoughts: How to Introduce Yourself in a Presentation Without it Being Awkward?
After following the tips I gave you in this article, you will be good at introducing yourself.
The other beauty of this is if you plan and you have a process and you’re all set, you’re not going to be sweating and waiting for your turn to introduce yourself. You could actually be present; you can be in the moment and actually listening to other people instead of thinking of yourself.
How to speak with confidence in public? Accept the fact that you’ll be nervous, but don’t let it control you. Prepare your speech or presentation well in advance. Practice in front of a variety of listeners. Learn controlled breathing and act like you own the stage. (full article here)
What is a good speech introduction? A good speech introduction draws the audience’s attention to you, raises interest and tells the listeners that something exciting is coming. But if your prelude leaves the listeners thinking, “Meh?“ you’ll find yourself in a difficult situation. (full article here)
How do you outline a presentation? Always start with your introduction and end with your powerful closing. Flesh out the body by listing topics in the order that you want to cover them. Never skimp on the important details of your speech. Remember that an outline is only a draft. (full article here)