Welcome to Part II of How to Craft a Killer Professional Introduction.
In Part I, we covered how to expand and contract your professional introduction based on four key journaling prompts.
>> If you missed it, CLICK HERE to check it out. You’ll learn step-by-step tricks for expanding and contracting your professional introduction to fit various situations—whether you’re interviewing, networking, presenting, or just plain socializing. If you completed Part I’s accordion-style introduction exercise and you’re thinkin’:
Ok, that was helpful for homing in on my key messages, but how do I fine tune the language and put it all together in the “right” order… ?
You’re not alone and today’s blog post is for you!
The truth is: there’s no “right” order. This is YOUR introduction. You get to tell your story in whatever order you want! But I do have a couple exercises that our Presence Under Pressure alums have found to be particularly helpful.
Watch this quick video clip to learn two simple yet clarifying exercises for crafting a killer professional introduction.
Pretty simple, right? Let’s break it down.
Exercise #1: The Slingshot Approach
There are three major things to think about here:
- A signature fact that says a lot about you: for example, I’m a native New Yorker and I started my career as an actor on the National Tour of a Broadway musical.
- Go back: Jump back a chapter in your professional experience, and give us an example of an experience that led to where you are right now!
- Go forward: Describe what you’re looking for NEXT and how you’re looking to expand and grow!
Another way to think about this? Start in the middle (you, as you are right now!) then go both ways (backward, then forward!).
Here’s an example from Presence Under Pressure superstar alumna, Audrey.
Audrey just transitioned from working in Research and Analytics for a major charter school network to pursuing her PhD in Education Policy.
(Yep, she’s badass.)
As she geared up to meet a whole new cohort of peers, she wanted to fine-tune her introduction. Here’s how Audrey did just that using the Slingshot Approach:
Step 1: Share a signature fact that gives us a sense of who you are as a human being.
“Hi everyone, so great to be here and meet you all. My name’s Audrey. A little about me: I moved to DC when I was 13 from England. So as a student, I experienced two very different school systems… Since I moved to the states, I’ve lived in seven different cities and have both taught at a traditional public school and a charter school…”
Step 2: Go backward. What most recent professional experience led you to what you’re doing or pursuing today? And why was that work interesting or meaningful to you?
“Most recently, I worked at the largest charter school organization across California as a Data Analyst. Before that, I knew I wanted to have an impact at the policy level, and I wanted the quantitative skill set to do that. Which is what inspired me to pursue my Masters in Applied Economics at UC Davis. I got to apply those quantitative skills and my passion for education most recently as an Analyst at the charter school network I mentioned earlier.”
Step 3: Go forward. What are you hoping to do/pursue/accomplish next?
“Looking ahead, I’m looking forward to getting to know all of you and to deepen my understanding of, and my impact on, the education policy world… with a specific focus on preventing kids from getting caught up in the school to prison pipeline. After school, one of my dreams is to become a university professor.”
Step 4: Bring us back to the present moment and give us a snapshot of ordinary moments of joy for you.
“When I’m not studying, I love to listen to comedy and podcasts. I love to read, and go on walks around my new neighborhood.”
Audrey crushed it, don’t ya think?
And now, to make your professional introduction even more specific and easy to articulate on the fly, check out this final exercise below.
Exercise #2: What Would a Fly See You Doing All Day?!
(psst…complete these exercises on paper to create that muscle memory!!)
What would a fly on the wall see you doing during a day, either in your current or previous role? Are you answering a ton of calls? Are you managing and planning team meetings? Describe, in visual terms, what you’re responsible for and the activities you’re engaged in.
Because guess what? Visuals help people remember you!
For example, when I had Audrey use this exercise to flesh out her intro further, she was able to give some more color to why she became passionate about education policy in the first place, and what her most recent role and responsibilities really entailed. (Which, she could keep or leave out depending on the situation and how much time she has…):
“After graduating from Cornell, I moved to Memphis ,TN, where I taught through Teach For America. I taught high school math—and it’s there where I got to see what my students were up against, whether it was being suspended for smelling like Cannabis, or having to learn math in class sizes of 35+ with broken air conditioning that would never get fixed… In my most recent role, I got to focus on the research, data, and analytics side of things… So for instance, one project I worked on was implementing a text nudge to let parents know how many days of school their child missed to try to prevent chronic absenteeism, since that’s a big indicator of whether or not students will graduate and matriculate to college…”
Now, Audrey (and you!) can combine both exercises for an introduction that will:
✔️ showcase exactly what you do and how you do/or have done it
✔️ describe both your past accomplishments and your future goals
✔️ be remembered by just about anyone you introduce yourself to!
Way to go! You now have a killer professional introduction ready for any situation & any audience.
If today’s blog post has helped you, I’ve got loads more tips, downloadable resources, and free coaching opportunities to help you articulate yourself even more confidently inside the The Confident Communicator.
We cover how to:
- Introduce yourself like a boss so you can step into your full power with practical messaging frameworks
- Dial down nerves with science-backed tactics to help you feel more centered and in control
- Signal the qualities you want others to see in you – without faking or forcing it
- Leverage your values and start trusting yourself to speak from a grounded, self-honoring place
And did I mention individual coaching opportunities and copy and paste phrasing guides?!
>>> CLICK HERE to enroll in The Confident Communicator today! I can’t wait to see you there.
In the meantime, keep showing up as the YOU, you most want to be.
One intention, one interaction at a time.
Thanks so much for reading and I’ll see you next time,
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