How to Establish Presence With a Powerful Introduction

 In Story

When Life hands you a pandemic, it might be a good time to reinvent yourself, or at least take the opportunity to make sure people see you the way you want to be seen. This is especially true if you are seeking a new job, as many are right now, or starting one. You will create a perception anyway, so why not at least try to give others one that you choose rather than leaving it to chance? Take stock of your assets, maybe even what’s calling you, and certainly how you want to be seen by others, and plan for what to say and how to say it.

Person wearing a name tag that establishes presence by saying "HELLO I'M A GENIUS"

Try this on by crafting an introduction to use when people ask you to tell a little bit about who you are and why you are there. People decide who you are within 30 secs so you don’t have much time to make a good first impression but with planning and practice you can greatly improve those chances. Here’s how:

If you want to be seen as inspiring, you have to inspire.

Get Intentional about being seen

As always, start with Intention, which is Purpose with a plan to get there. In our practice, we have clients create a personal Statement of Intention. They craft it carefully, using answers to a self-assessment. Their SOI is an affirmational statement they use to shape how they show up in meetings, conversations, and as presenters. (It also uses mental plasticity to begin to shape how they see themselves, so they show up as they intend, but that’s another story.) By taking stock of your values, your strengths and what’s most important to you about your role or aspirational role, you will figure out how you want people to see you; you can make lists of verbs and qualities that resonate with you and describe “the you” you want others to see. Then use those words to shape your behavior as well as your comments. In other words,

  • If you want to be seen as inspirational, you have to inspire.
  • If you want to be seen as collaborative, you have to talk about someone besides yourself.
  • If you want to be seen as innovative, help them use their imaginations.

There’s nothing like a story to keep people thinking about you.

Get personal with a story

There is nothing like a story to keep people thinking about you. A story that reveals a little bit about you is even better. Stories connect because they almost always remind the listener of their own story, opening the door for relationship building. Stories are not “references”; they have a beginning a middle and an end, they are about people and usually have a challenge that gets resolved.

  • Use a story instead of an explanation of who you are, and people are more likely to remember you.
  • Use a story to describe a part of your career and others may relate better to you in your new role in the company.
  • Use a funny or dramatic story and you’ve got them in their emotions, which is exactly where memory is found in their brains. That’s good.

Don’t expect to wing it.

Get practicing

Don’t expect to wing it when you have a chance to set the tone for how others will remember you. Spend time preparing by practicing aloud at least two or three times before you have to do this, preferably more. Most likely this is a virtual introduction right now, so

  • Use Zoom or a free conference call account to have a meeting with yourself, record it, and see what you think.
  • Adjust the lighting and the audio to make sure you look and sound the way you want to and then try out your introduction.
  • Review what you recorded and work with it until you are satisfied that it’s smooth, clear, and a good representation of how you want to be perceived.

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Photo 165193102 © Artur Szczybylo |

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