The Stonewall Mission Church

A Progressive Christian Congregation in the Heart of East Nashville


Introducing Yourself

Posted by stonewallmissionchurch on March 29, 2009 at 8:41 AM

I'm always interested in learning better ways to get to know other people. Recently, I came across this article by Rachel Green that I thought was very insightful. In general, I know how to introduce myself to other people. This article however was a very nice reminder of some more practical things to say (and not to say) when meeting new people. I used this as a check list for my own encounters with new people. Is there anything here that might be helpful to you?

Introducing Yourself by Rachel Green
29-Nov-2000, Number 57

Example One - How NOT to Introduce Yourself

I was carrying a big pile of books from a library when the top two toppled to the floor. A woman kindly came to my aid and picked them up for me. Having thanked her I took the books to my car and then returned to the library. There to greet me was the woman who helped me. "Hi," she said, "I'm Annie." "Hi Annie, I'm Rachel." "I know." "Oh." End of introduction. I was so surprised, I still don't know who she was.

Tip 1 - For Good Introductions

When you are introducing yourself do not take away the person's name, e.g. don't go up to someone and say, "Hi Rachel, I'm Jacky." If you do, you've left the other person with nothing to say.

Tip 2 - For Good Introductions

Give more than just your name when you are introducing yourself. An extra line about yourself after you've said your name helps the other person know who you are and what to talk to you about. So you might say why you're at a function, what your job is, what your connection is with the host ... anything that is vaguely relevant will do! So if when Annie had introduced herself, she had said to me, "Hi I'm Annie, I'm on the library committee and in charge of the natural history books." I would have felt far more comfortable.

Example 2 - How NOT to Introduce Yourself

My husband came to a work function with me recently. I had been giving a speech that day on "How Not To Take Things Personally" and had told some stories from my own relationship. At the evening dinner, when he was present, many wonderful friendly people greeted him. However, hardly anyone told him who they were. They'd say things like, "I've heard all about you - is it true what she says?" and they'd have a good laugh together. However, the conversation went no further because they never said who they were. At the conference dinner itself, my husband sat down with me and introduced himself to the woman next to him and said, "Hi I'm Michael, Rachel's husband," and the woman next to him started talking to him without saying who she was. At a later stage I asked to whom he was talking and he said, "I've no idea." So I leant over and said, "Hi I'm Rachel, I'm sorry I can't remember your name." and she said, "Oh it's Fiona, I thought my name badge was on."

Tip 3 - For Good Introductions

Always give your own name. If someone comes up to you and is kind enough to introduce him/herself - don't just say hello, say who you are.

Tip 4 - For Good Introductions

Even if you have a name badge on, still say your name. Don't presume people can read. Don't presume people want to have to stare at your chest to find out who you are. Make a personal introduction.

Tip 5 - For Good Introductions

When approaching people that you've heard about - introduce yourself, give your name and share something about yourself so that you both know about each other. Otherwise you may inadvertently put other people in unequal positions to yourself and leave them feeling uncomfortable.

Example Three - How NOT to Introduce Yourself

One of my clients was recently expressing her dislike over comments that her neighbour makes such as, "Doing a bit of gardening to lose weight, are we?" or "Been spending all the money, have we?" My client and I both agreed it was an attempt to start conversation. Sadly it was an unskilled irritation rather than a skilled introduction.

Tip 6 - For Good Introductions

When introducing yourself avoid making personal judgements about the other people. Negative judgements can be off putting. So can positive ones. For example, if you are approaching a woman and you say something like, "What a beautiful dress," the other woman may feel this is too intimate from a stranger or may feel under scrutiny (what else has he/she looked at?). One of my clients for instance said the other day that when someone had come up to her and said, "Gosh you look lovely in that suit today - are you going for a job interview?" she took it as a put-down. She started to wonder if she had looked bad on all the other days! Personal judgements may not be helpful ways to introduce yourself - especially if you don't say anything about yourself. If someone had said, "I was admiring your suit as I'm going to a job interview on Monday and was wondering where you got it from," it would have been less intimidating.

Tip 7 - For Good Introductions

Talk about yourself not about "we" as if speaking on behalf of others. Use "I", e.g. "I was thinking it was a good day for gardening and I've come out to trim the roses, how are you getting on?", would have been a suitable improvement on the earlier version!

Categories: Genuine Hospitality

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