Introductions demonstrate confidence, and while important to people of all ages – it’s not something typically associated with young men. So when young men choose to introduce themselves to adults, it makes a great impression. Let’s go through a few of the basics.
Every strong introduction centers on a strong handshake (see later chapter “Shake Down!“). As you shake the other person’s hand, however, it is what you say that sets the tone for the introduction and small talk and/or conversation that follows.
There may not be time for the post-introduction interaction but you do have a moment to make a lasting impression. That impression can be good, bad or unmemorable.
Here is an example of a strong introduction for a young man meeting an elected official:
“Good morning Governor Smith. My name is Doug Knust, and I’m an eighth grade student at Chamberlain Middle School. I am the secretary of the Explorers, a service club. I appreciate your taking time to meet us today.”
Make the introduction relevant
In this example, the young person is offering a couple items of interest. He is telling his age, where he is from and that he is a leader in a service club. All are openings for conversation. He is also thanking the governor for his or her time. Gratitude toward any elected official for sharing their time is appropriate and memorable because they are seldom thanked for this.
Go beyond your name
This gives the person you are introducing yourself to something to ask to begin small talk or conversation.
Offer something that is unique and makes for good conversation. If you know something about or have something in common with the person you are introducing yourself to, bring it up in the introduction.
Think about it before the introduction
You are an interesting person. Think about what makes you interesting. Ask a friend or family member what they think makes you interesting.
Humor is great but be careful
Getting someone to laugh with you when you introduce yourself makes you memorable. But you don’t want a joke or humor to fall flat. It’s best to make fun of yourself rather than someone else.
Any of the topics for small talk (see the chapter The Art of Small Talk) make good introduction lead-ins.
Remember to invoke a good, strong handshake as you introduce yourself. Make eye contact and don’t hurry.
A young man who is confident enough to introduce himself to an adult will always make a strong and lasting impression. Even if you are not able to come up with something unique to reveal about yourself, you’ll still be miles ahead of your peers!