First impressions have a lasting impact. It is critical therefore to be equipped with the know-how to create the right impression on people you meet online or in person for the first time. This article focuses on how to achieve this when introducing yourself to a room full of people or to a pen pal online.
Step 1: Plan
The first step of introducing yourself is to come up with a plan. List the main information you wish to share, such as your name, where you live, your school, your program, your goals, your job, and other interests. To create an informal tone, mention your hobbies and pastimes. You may want to emphasize what makes you different from your peers. Plan to end with a question. Questions help to continue the conversation and make you seem less self-centered. An example of an appropriate question after introducing yourself to a small group could be something like this: Now that I have told you a little about myself, could you tell me a little about yourself, too?
Step 2: Understand your audience
While planning your message, be aware of your audience’s interests. If they are students like you at a different college, they will be particularly interested in your school and program. Some will be interested in your career goals while others will want to delve into the details of your social life. Older readers might be interested in your family life. Readers in another country will want to know about your city and neighbourhood. If your audience is pressed for time, they won’t want to read or listen to a long treatise about your life–so it is best to keep it short. Once you have understood your audience, you will get a sense of what to emphasize. Keep your tone friendly and informal to make you seem approachable. Avoid slang and aggressive language. You want to put your audience at ease.
Step 2: Revise written introductions
Write a draft, and then check it for embarrassing errors–especially if you intend to post it online or send it in an email. Make sure to capitalize the first word of each sentence, your name and the pronoun “I.” NEVER USE ALL-CAPS. It makes you look like you are shouting. Remember to put a period (.) at the end of your sentences and a question mark (?) at the end of questions. Important! Use exclamation points (!) sparingly–you don’t want to seem crazy. Finally, check your spelling and grammar with the VirtualWritingTutor.com grammar checker, and eliminate your errors before sending your message.
Step 3: Practice oral introductions
Practice your pronunciation for those occasions when you have to introduce record yourself or speak to a live audience. To make sure that you pronounce words correctly, enter your text into the VirtualWritingTutor.com and click on the speaker icon or download the MP3. Once you are sure of your pronunciation, practice reading your speech aloud to a classmate to determine the reaction of the audience in advance. Encourage him or her to ask questions and be honest about the weak parts of your introduction. Memorize your introduction. It will help you to create an impression of self-confidence. If you have to refer to your notes, read a sentence, look up, and say it.
Step 5: Reduce your anxiety
While delivering the speech to a room full of people, try to relax. Find a quiet place to breathe slowly and deeply. Instead of telling yourself that you are nervous, tell yourself that you are excited. Stand up straight to portray a sense of confidence and strength. Make eye contact with the people in different parts of the room. Use humor instead of apologizing for mistakes. It will indicate that you are comfortable and likable.
Undoubtedly, you can introduce yourself in a speech or in a written message to create the right impression with just a little forethought and effort. The elements of proper planning, simplicity, feedback from classmates, confidence, and humour will guide you through the process to a result you will be proud of.