Now you’re talking!

You’re so much more than your business card – introduce yourself with impact

You’re in one of those meetings where everyone is going around the table introducing themselves. It might be an all-the-rage networking meeting, a business meeting with some external participants or even an internal meeting. Meetings have increased in length and frequency over the past 50 years, with all manner of questions around their value and how to make them more effective. What hasn’t changed, however, is the need to introduce yourself with impact. Introductions matter.


This is an opportunity to make a good impression, yet for many of us, our nerves are overwhelming and we don’t hear a word anyone else says. Worse, when we feel like this, our brain isn’t thinking at full capacity and we can become lost for words. Sound familiar? As your turn to speak gets closer and closer, our heart pounds louder and louder, while your breathing may become increasingly shallow as you stress about what to say. You’re not alone.

Blocking out other participants may or may not buy you time to compose a fabulous introduction about you, but denies you the opportunity to learn about your fellow meeting attendees. You know nothing about why they are in the meeting, their role and needs or how best to connect with them. In short, your nerves mean you miss out on tips about how to engage with them, persuade them or make a positive impression.

Women in particular often tell me they get really nervous introducing themselves, be it in a meeting or in networking situations. The result is that they miss out. They might avoid networking opportunities. They might miss what others are saying as they worry about what they’re going to say or that other people might question their authority to speak. But it’s not just women who miss out. By taking the ‘silent’ option, we all miss out on women’s thoughts and ideas, ie the thoughts and ideas of half the population.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Here are four steps to help you craft and deliver an impactful introduction.


Impromptu doesn’t have to be impromptu

Consider the words of Mark Twain:

“I … never could make a good impromptu speech without several hours to prepare it.”

Or Winston Churchill’s admission that “I’m just preparing my impromptu remarks”.

Like these great orators, you should prepare what you want to say in your introduction and practise so that you can deliver it in a conversational and engaging way.

And if someone does ask you something unexpected or a follow-up question, think ‘PREP’ as a way of professionally structuring your response in a clear and engaging manner. Give your overall Point of view on the question/subject; your headline if you like. Follow this with a Reason for your opinion, illustrate with an Example and wrap up by summarising your main Point.

For instance, [P] I think everyone should learn to speak in public [R] because it’s a skill that builds confidence and benefits us in our work and private lives. [E] It breaks my heart when I hear stories about people passing up their dream job rather than facing their fear of speaking in public. In fact, four in five respondents (83%) in the Now You’re Talking Speaker Survey*, said that giving a talk or presentation has helped their career. [P] Learning to speak in public can transform your life.

  • The Now You’re Talking Survey is new research conducted by Lyn Roseaman/Now You’re Talking among 251 speakers


Don’t be afraid to use notes

If you prepare your opening remarks in advance, you are free to focus on what others are saying. However, there is nothing wrong with using notes until you become more confident and relaxed in your meetings. Jot down what people say about themselves as they offer their introduction so you can mention them in your own introduction if appropriate.

In addition, for your own input, take a small index card with bullet points of what you want to say.

You might even volunteer to go first, although that may be out of your control and determined by where you’re sitting. By going first, you get the fear out of the way, then you can relax and benefit from listening to others’ introductions.


Craft your content

Keep introductions short and sweet. Remember less is more – under a minute, maybe even 30 seconds. Don’t waste these precious seconds with apologies or platitudes; cut to the chase. Give people:

  • Your name
  • Your purpose in the meeting – your contribution or expertise. This is your pitch, your chance to tell people what you want them to know about you and how you can help or make a difference. Don’t just give them your company and job title – they can get that from your business card. Share with them what they can expect from you in the meeting, what makes you stand out
  • A short, relevant and attention-grabbing (may even be humorous) personal story/anecdote about your purpose that connects with the people in the room and helps them remember you. Share, for instance, a story that tells them what makes you tick and how they will benefit from engaging with you.

Remember, this is not about you giving a perfect speech. This is about connecting with the people around the table who want to know about you – speakers’ highest priority when they are talking in public (Now You’re Talking Speaker Survey). They are interested in who you are and what makes you tick. Your introduction is about giving them what they need,answering their question “What’s in it for me?”By repositioning your introduction as a gift to your audience, you shift the spotlight away from yourself and focus it on the people you are connecting with – the others in the meeting.

Once you have crafted your introduction, you can use it at all sorts of meetings, though you might want to vary your purpose and anecdotes to keep it fresh and relevant to the specific meeting.


Dial up your delivery

In the meeting, take your time. Take a nice deep breath in so that you can feel the air moving your ribs. Take a controlled breath out. Make eye contact with other people in the room and start to speak, maintaining eye contact for a few words before moving to someone else. Eye contact is important because it demonstrates your sincerity and builds trust with your audience.

In western cultures, a big smile and high energy will ensure you come across as confident, engaging and enthusiastic. Speak up and speak clearly. Remember to uncross your arms and present a friendly, open posture. You may even want to lean slightly forward towards fellow meeting participants to reinforce your interest in the people and the meeting.




Meetings might just be your new best friend, a goldmine, offering you the opportunity to practise ways to introduce yourself with impact.

But meetings can be even more. With so many of them going on, think of meetings as your speaking practice ground. Draw up your own personal plan to finesse your speaking skills and roll it out in the meetings you attend because if speaking is nothing else, it should always be a work in progress:

“There are always three speeches, for every one you actually gave. The one you practiced, the one you gave, and the one you wish you gave.”
Dale Carnegie

Now you’re talking! Have a great meeting


About the Author

Authenticity - Lyn RoseamanvyNothing thrills Lyn more than helping people to reach their full potential

She has more than 25 years’ experience of successfully mentoring, coaching and training colleagues and clients in speaking, researching and personal development.

Following a successful international career as a market research director, Lyn knows what makes people tick.  Now she is bringing that understanding to public speaking to ensure relevant and impactful speech content that meets your audience’s needs.  She has an MSc, is a Distinguished Toastmaster (DTM) and has delivered hundreds of speeches, presentations and workshops.

Lyn cuts to the chase, homing in on your core message.  She loves exploring different ways of delivering a speech that are right for you so that you can wow your audience.  She knows only too well what happens when we are afraid and nervous and will help you channel those nerves to enhance your speaking/presenting performance.

Lyn is passionate about sharing her knowledge and experience to help you improve your speaking skills and reach your true potential as a confident and effective communicator.

Most importantly, you’ll enjoy the ride! Lyn is fun and friendly, adventurous and animated.  She’ll make sure you’re eager and excited about using your new-found speaking skills.


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