In coaching thousands of people over the years, I marvel at what question most unnerves people when presenting:
It is simply this:
“Tell me about yourself.”
It’s a short, 4-word phrase that can leave us paralyzed.
In theory, it should be the easiest thing to answer since we are all experts in ourselves!
Yet, we get stuck.
I’ve heard people use the excuse, “I don’t like talking about myself,” or “I never know what to say.”
We end up rambling, bringing up things that don’t highlight our strengths, or we’re just not sure what to prioritize and therefore end up “data dumping” a bunch of details, hoping that something will stick!
I get it. It’s hard sometimes. And yet, if you want to be seen as a woman of influence, you’ll want to always be ready with your introduction!
You never know when you might be asked to do it or when you’ll have the opportunity. And, you never know who will be in the room to showcase your best self.
It’s the one thing we have the luxury of preparing in advance.
Yet, most people don’t!
When I was in my corporate job training professionals every day in their communication, the majority of people going through our 2-day training said the thing that threw them the most was having to do an introduction.
Things like “I wasn’t prepared, it put me on the spot,” etc.
Ladies, it’s TIME.
Why not use a 3-part formula and be ready with an introduction at a moment’s notice?
After all, it’s your job to share what matters most to you (and about you) to your audience. Plus, you’ll stand out from the crowd!
Talking about yourself is simply a chance to let people get to know you.
Here’s my PPU introduction formula:
- Say something personal (Minnesota, now San Francisco, married with two kitties)
- Share your profession (Professional speaker for high achieving corporate women over 40)
- Offer something unique about you (Love following dreams – lived in Manhattan for my 50th birthday month)
Here’s how it might sound in conversation:
I’m originally from Minnesota and now live in San Francisco with my husband and two kitties, after packing my bags in the mid-90’s to follow a dream of living in SF.
Professionally, I’m a speaker equipping high achieving women to stand out with unshakable confidence: such as promote themselves with ease and give killer presentations.
One unique thing about me is that I love adventure. An example of that is deciding to live in Manhattan for the whole month of October for my 50th birthday. I rented a place and spent 30 glorious days pretending that I was a local.
Try that out and let me know how it goes! You’ll sound prepared and leave your audience with something memorable about you.
And, yes, that above example is me. 😉
Let’s talk about a typical introduction.
I was in a networking group yesterday and when people introduced themselves, they only shared about their businesses. When most people share about their businesses, it’s dry and often boring, so it’s hard to stay focused.
It’s easy to lose people unless we have a really interesting job or we share it in a way that grabs (and holds) our audience’s attention.
When you think about the last time you heard someone else’s intro, what do you remember?
People typically start with what they do for a living and then they’ve lost you because it’s not presented in a way that’s interesting.
This is why I recommend you start with the personal. There’s a power in geographical orientation for relatability’s sake. It creates common ground. Or, at least an awareness that lends itself to connection.
The personal leads nicely into the professional.
By the way, make it easy on yourself by actually using the words (personal, professional and unique) in your sentences (see above example). Not a must, but helpful when you’re just starting out using this formula.
Keep the professional brief and as concrete as possible. The more others can picture it, the better. Perhaps offer up a short example or analogy so they get it.
The unique part often perplexes people, but it needn’t. There’s this feeling that we need to have something really amazing. Or often, I hear: “there’s nothing unique about me.”
It can be as simple as “I love beach vacations” or “I’m an incredible parallel parker” (can you tell I live in San Francisco?!). Or, think food: “I love tacos” or “my favorite food is…”
The point is, the unique element is what people remember most.
I can still remember when I would introduce myself shortly after getting married. I would often say “my husband I were terrified of commitment, so it took us 13 years of back and forth to finally seal the deal.” When I would poll the audience and ask what people remembered about my intro, the majority always said, “the part about you getting married after so many years!”
Yes! We need to capitalize on what’s memorable.
Another example is from a training I did with Del Monte foods. About 40 people introduced themselves with the instructions to keep it short (share name and department).
One guy broke the rules, and it was brilliant. After 30-ish introductions, it was heavy in the room and hard to stay present.
He said, “Before I share my name, I want to share that I collect miniature, antique tractors.”
So simple and so memorable. After 15 years since that training, I still remember that. It may have been a little unusual, but he is the one I wanted to connect with after we all did our intros.
The key is to share something about you and also to grab attention so people want to learn more about you.
One other thing people ask is how important the order of the PPU is.
My recommendation is to either start with the personal or the unique. Not the professional. Simply because we are human beings wired for connection, and if we lead with the personal or unique, we’ll have a much better chance at connection.
That, of course, leads to more business and more influence.
If you want to grow your speaking skills and elevate your communication game, consider my 6-week group coaching program, Speak with Confidence.
It just opened up and I have three spots left. Click HERE to see if it’s a fit for you.
In the meantime, use that PPU formula to introduce yourself and you’ll always be ready!