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How to Introduce Yourself

by | Oct 1, 2018 | Public Speaking | 0 comments

Introductions make or break your first impression with others. Introductions are one of the most important interactions in business. Most people do not consider how to properly introduce themselves and say their name and job title. This post discusses two impactful methods of introduction—the elevator pitch and the punchline.

The most important factor to consider when introducing yourself is your audience. Whether you are speaking at a huge event or meeting someone casually, these methods will ensure you sound polished and put-together at all times.

Use an Elevator Pitch

The elevator pitch is designed to be a short and sweet introduction. The name is derived from the concept of introducing yourself within the 30-second timeframe while between stops in an elevator. Elevator pitches are used in a setting such as a job interview or networking event.

The aim is to communicate a condensed snapshot of career, your value/specialty and how you can apply that value to the person/company you are speaking to.

The elevator pitch is your go-to answer to the age-old interview question:

“So, tell me about yourself.”

Another use for the elevator pitch is the quick bio a speaker uses to introduce him/herself to a group of strangers at a conference or as a guest facilitator for a class.

In an interview setting, tailor your elevator pitch to the company. Your preparation should include heavily researching the company, its mission, products, pains and current events. Online research is great as most companies have a strong online presence. Talk with current employees of the company to get an insider’s perspective if possible.

When presenting your elevator, the first line should be a quick summary of your career.

“I’m a Project Manager who specializes in building museums.”

The remainder of the pitch should be tailored to relieving the company’s pains.

For example:

“When I heard that ABC Company is taking on its first museum project, I called my friend John who works in your HR department. I asked if he’d hired the museum construction staff yet… He said: “No, we’re having a lot of problems.” That’s why I’m here… I have a knack for putting together fantastic construction teams. ABC Company needs a Project Manager who has not only built museums, but you need someone who can put together the right team for the project.”

This example is succinct, demonstrates that the applicant is well-connected, has researched the company and most importantly— can solve a major problem for the company.

In this example, ABC Company is clearly in over their heads with hiring the right team. The elevator pitch quickly demonstrates that the Project Manager is the right person for the job.

The following example modifies the same elevator pitch to be applicable when the target company/audience is unknown such as a conference.

The pitch will start out similarly:

“I’m a Project Manager who specializes in building museums.”

The next portion is impossible to tailor to a specific company’s needs because the variable is unknown.

Tailor the remainder of the pitch to your niche, or specialty.

“I have always been a history buff. I’ve made a career out of building museums, so the history buffs of the world have beautiful, family friendly museums to visit… and its fun for everyone.”

Create a Punchline

The punchline is the speed dating version of the elevator pitch. The punchline is NOT your job title. Most job titles are boring and potentially confusing, using your job title will make you blend in when you want to stand out among the crowd.

It may seem counterintuitive to give a specialized introduction at a large event but… oh contraire. Being too generalized is damaging and will create introductions that are easily forgotten and unproductive. Being specific, however, is memorable.


“I’m a project manager.”


“I build hospitals and clinics.”

The risk of being too specific is meeting people at the conference who do not need to build a hospital.

The reward is meeting a doctor who wants to build a clinic for his/her private practice or a construction company who just won a bid to build a hospital. It is better to be specific and create meaningful connections rather than be too general and make a lot of connections that will prove to be unfruitful.

The use of a punchline is normally informal, but you can use it whenever you are in a hurry and do not have time to tell the longer version.

At networking events, the punchline will be your response to:

“Hi I’m Bill.”

Bill shakes my hand.

“I’m Jaime.”

I respond.

“Jaime, what do you do?”

To answer this question, use the punch line formula.

The formula:

  • Who you are
  • What you do
  • Why you do it

Who you are is simply your name: “My name is Jaime Chapman.”

What you do is a brief statement that describes your specialty: “I’m an entrepreneur and career advocate for the military community.”

This section is difficult because we all do a million things in our careers. I’m a professional federal resume writer, corporate resume writer, career coach, published author, keynote speaker, entrepreneur, etc… Condense what you do into a simple statement, if you start rattling off your daily tasks— you’ve already lost the other person and made a bad impression.

Why you do it is your purpose: “I help high achievers get raises, promotions and negotiate high salaries in the workplace.”

It is very powerful to tailor your purpose to a specified audience: “I help veterans and military spouses find their stride when balancing work and home.”

If you struggle with this section because you don’t know your purpose, I recommend reading Simon Sinek’s books, Start with Why and Find your Why and watch Adam Leipzig’s TED Talk, How to Find your Purpose in 5 minutes.

You can also read my article 3 Keys to Growth, where I discuss purpose.

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