How do you introduce yourself?

You know the scene – you’re at a networking event or maybe at a Christmas party at the neighbours, and someone asks you what you do. Many people give a simple answer, if that’s possible these days – I’m a teacher / lawyer / accountant / nurse. It’s not the kind of answer that makes them intrigued to know more though, is it?

Some of us get tongue-tied and start wittering on, trying to explain what it is that we do. I know that I’ve done that on more than one occasion! Again, you’re often met with a polite smile, then they take a sip of their drink, notice someone across they room they ‘need to say hello to’, and next thing you know, you’re on your own again.

Over the weekend I came across this little video from Simon Sinek. In it, he says that we shouldn’t introduce ourselves by What we do, we should start with Why we do it. So he introduces himself by saying that every day he wakes up to inspire people to do what inspires them. It’s certainly more powerful that talking about his consultancy business and the clients he works with!

I’ve been mulling this over and thinking about how I would introduce myself. I’m not there yet, but it would be something along the lines of, “I wake up every day inspired to help organisations to thrive”. By helping organisations to thrive, we improve the lives of staff, customers, and help to make the world a better place. As I say, it’s not 100% yet, but I prefer that to saying that I run a consultancy business and then blabbing on about design thinking, the kind of clients we work with, etc. That’s what we do, and how we do it, but it doesn’t speak to Why we do it.

How do you introduce yourself? Do you talk about What you do, or Why you do it?

6 thoughts on “How do you introduce yourself?

  1. Love your blog ….it’s always bugged me & guilty of it myself – that 1st question . It’s funny how we typically want to put people in a small box , based on their occupation or job title . Even now I’ve retired , people ask ..what did you used to be !
    There are all connotations and assumptions based on that 1 word .
    Even now the word “retired” assumes a certain lifestyle. So I’m gonna change my response to a more positive one – without that word !

    1. Thanks Margaret! I think that society likes to pigeon-hole people, so the job title is one way of doing that. I’m looking forward to hearing your more positive response 🙂

  2. Really good post Alasdair! I always cringe when asked that. And in the same way I cringe when I ask others, yet what I am really asking is for an indication of what gets them excited and what I can ask them
    about next and we’ll have something to talk about. So maybe I should ask the better question: what makes you happy to do each day? Or something like that….good food for thought!

    1. That’s a great point Sabrina! I think we can all ask better questions. A friend of mine is really good at this, she has a natural way of putting people at ease and is genuinely interested in them. You can see people relaxing when Hazel talks to them

  3. Great post! I change what I say I do depending on the audience. I wear shorts everywhere so everyone knows I’m a PT or in Fitness so if it’s a business networking event where I’m talking to individuals, I’m more likely to say that I help busy people move better and have more energy so that they can do their daily tasks more efficiently without feeling stiff from sitting at their desks or that they feel a bit drowsy in the afternoon. One of the most effective talks I gave was at a Chamber of Commerce event where everyone got 2 minutes. I noticed everyone telling us all what they did – bank, solicitor etc. I was last up and knew most people would be mentally preparing to finish up and go. Instead of saying what I did, I asked them a few questions – Who feels drowsy in the afternoon and needs a biscuit to stay awake? For the women, who spends a lot of money on cosmetics to improve their skin? I got a few nods and so started talking about the benefits of drinking water and that I can help them make changes to become more productive. I was invited to do a workshop for one company and helped another organisation write their wellness at work policy. I find it’s easier if you relate what you say to who’s in the room

    1. This is great Steve! I love your approach to asking questions – I do that too and it makes such a difference. People engage and start telling you their stories. It’s such a simple shift, but makes a huge difference. And people remember you!

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