Here’s How to Craft an Amazing Introduction
Today, we’re going to settle the answer to the question “What do you do?” once and for all.
Because I know that most of you are going to be around people for Thanksgiving. And I guarantee you (and myself) that everyone there is going to either ask you:
- So what do you do? Or…
- So how is that thing you do going?
And typical answers include:
- I am a engineer/consultant/CEO/assistant/insert ‘role’ here
- It’s going well! (And then no expansion on the answer)
And the typical response from everyone:
WE ARE ALL BORED.
I know that you might just be around your family on Thanksgiving. For my foreign friends, you might be at a party with people you don’t know this Thursday. Either way, let’s tackle each of these so that you can immediately stand out and have people say: “Wow…who’s that?” when you leave the feast.
But before we tackle the “So what do you do” question, I have a story for you.
Just this past weekend, a LOT of people asked me what I did for a living. And I have experimented with all kinds of introductions.
“I teach people social skills”
“I help people with social skills and relationships”
“I do communicate consulting”
“I help people be more charismatic, influential, and persuasive”
“I teach charisma”
Can you guess which of those intros got the BEST response?
First, notice how I’m not telling people who I AM. I don’t say “I’m a social skills specialist” (which sounds weird) or that I’m a communication consultant. I tell them what I DO.
So if you’re a software engineer, I’d think about it like this:
What do you DO at work?
Ex answer: I code and fix bugs all day
How does that work help other people?
Ex answer: Makes it really easy for people to use ‘X’ software to get ‘Y’
Then, come up with 2 different ways you can test introducing yourself:
Ex 1: I help people get ‘Y’
Ex 2: I’m a software engineer and I help people get ‘Y’
Do you see the difference?
Suddenly, to people who have no idea what software engineering, acupuncture, or dolphin training is, this all makes sense. If you’re a software engineer at a marketing company, you probably work on software that helps people make money or get more customers. That outcome is something everyone can easily understand.
And this framework is a tool you can use in any situation where you have to talk about what you do to strangers–especially if you have found yourself saying “people just don’t get what I do”. You know why? Because you’re not explaining it well enough.
Can you guess now which of my intros got the best response?
Before I tell you, let’s talk about the second question you’ll probably get asked if people aren’t asking you what you do.
They are going to ask you ‘how it’s going’. And you are going to probably squirm inside because the only word that comes to mind is ‘good’. Here’s a better (and more fun) way to think about it:
Family member/Guest: So Fel, how’s your business been going?
Fel: Really well, actually. I just started working with a client who does X–it’s been an interesting experience so far.
Family member/Guest: Oh, how so?
And now we’re off to the races.
Do you see how easy that is?
The essence of this is that you can still say ‘good’ or ‘really well’ or ‘great’–and not worry about coming up with this amazing answer–but you expand on it with just ONE thing.
You don’t need to talk about what everyone else has been doing at work. You don’t need to talk about how you colleague wears god awful sweaters. You don’t have to talk about your feelings. What’s just ONE interesting or cool detail you can mention that’s relatable when someone asks how it’s going?
I know that all sounds well and good. But here’s one sneaky thing I believe is important to mention that you will never see on a blog about communication or talking to people at Thanksgiving.
Sometimes you don’t want to engage with the people you’re with. It could be because of messy family relationships. It could be you don’t like someone that’s there. I myself have a tough time concealing when I don’t like people.
In fact, just the other night in my cab ride my driver asks me what I do for a living and I made the mistake of telling him. He got TOO excited and really started to rub me the wrong way–I just wanted to get where I was going without being interrogated. (A social skills blunder a lot of people make, by the way)
So at the end of the ride when he asked me for candid feedback about his ‘charisma’ I said that he was not good at all. He then told me that I wasn’t, either. And I gracefully told him that that was because I wasn’t trying to be charming at all.
See, sometimes I make myself boring on PURPOSE depending on who I’m talking to. I’ll give them a boring as hell answer so they don’t ask me more questions.
But this is actually a key tenet of what it means to be ‘irresistible’. You are 100% aware of who you CHOOSE to engage with, and are glad to eliminate people who drain you. This may sound like a sad reality, but I believe it’s pretty liberating. You can be the most interesting person in the world because it’s a CHOICE…and only certain people are deserving of being graced by you.
Do I sound vain right now? I bet. But too many of us have been taught that everyone needs to like us, that we need to be BFFs with everyone we come into contact with, and if we don’t, we are fatally flawed. Consider this as giving you permission to decide who gets to be on the receiving end of your amazing introduction.
So here’s what I want to leave you with today:
If you know you’re going to be around great, interesting people this Thanksgiving (or whatever event), sharpen your introduction sword with those few tweaks and see the difference in response you get.
As a bonus, the first 5 people who email me with their introduction I’ll personally look over and help you tweak it and make it incredible. If you happen to come in late, I won’t respond but go out and test it anyway.
PS: You didn’t think I’d leave you hanging, would you? My introduction that got the best was “I teach charisma”. Why do you think that is?
PPS: Remember, the first 5 people who email me I’ll personally help you craft your introduction so it sounds incredible.