Sunday, November 25, 2012

Open doors, not closed boxes - your introduction

In the quest to build an elevator speech, or have a great introduction, there seems to be two approaches. The 1st is to try and cram an entire resume into a handshake. The 2nd is to limit information to name, current job designation and company.

Neither open the door to a conversation or create interest. Both simply offer oneself in a tidy (or lengthy) box for the listener to file. Our introductions have become like clothing labels, listing the basic materials and cleaning instruction but leaving out the colour, weight and feel that would entice someone to try us on.

I want to give enough information that I don't seem coy but not so much that the listener can place me in a category. I want the listener to respond - with a laugh, a question, a show of interest.

How does your current way to introduce yourself stack up?

My favourite introduction is still the six words exercise. "Hi, I'm Dennie... IT manager, artist and unappreciated parent."
There is also using descriptors that are the key items for which you'd like someone new to remember you. "Hi. I'm Dennie... poker of holes in plans and keeper of fingers in pies."
Even the first line of your resume could be echo'd in your introduction. "Hi, I'm Dennie... strategist, facilitator, student of transformation."

Regardless of the approach, your introductions should be genuine and not a sales pitch about how perfect you might be.

Like the "Hi how are you?" "I am fine." exchange that has become meaningless as the asker doesn't want a different answer and the responder has no genuine answer, one's introduction has turned into an unappetizing bite of nothing very useful or enjoyable.

Relationships - even when job hunting - start with helping folks understand why to talk to you. Don't throw away the very first sentences you say.

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