The Top 10 Points to Remember about Your Self-introduction

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by Diana Robinson, Ph.D.

We all know that it is important to develop a very brief self-introduction that tells people what we want them to know about us and our business. It is sometimes called "the elevator speech" because one should be able to finish it before the listener reaches his/her floor in a ride up or down in an elevator. This brief introduction is often our one chance to make a good first impression, so it warrants some careful attention:

1. Focus the impact.

Envision the impression on snow of a high heel, and of a snow shoe. One has focused impact, the other barely leaves an impression. To give your introduction true impact make it brief, focused, and hard hitting. Keep it to sixty seconds maximum - preferably thirty.

2. Rotate the focus.

You need to develop more than one introduction. Seek several different ways in which you can introduce yourself, particularly if you frequently present to the same people. There are many aspects of your work - develop an introduction for each.

3. Make it relevant to your audience.

Which introduction you use may depend partly on your listener(s). Try to select an aspect of your business that will be relevant to their interests.

4. Believe it.

When creating each introduction, keep to what you believe. If you oversell yourself or your services, not only are you unlikely to sound convincing, but you will also be out of integrity.

5. Put your full weight behind it.

Deliver your introduction with pride, without hesitation, without excuses, without apologies. Use no explanations that might dilute, rather than strengthen it.

6. Sound and look happy about what you do.

We are all attracted to happiness. If you are happy in your business and proud of what you do, then people will be attracted to you, and will want to work with you.

7. Look at your listener(s).

If they are to consider doing business with you they need to know that they matter to you. Making eye contact is the best way to show it in the brief time you have.

8. Know when to use it and when not.

Listen and look for cues as to when is the right time to introduce your business and when is not. Even a great introduction will fall flat, and possibly leave a lastingly bad impression, if given at the wrong time.

9. Know how to stop.

This gets back to keeping it brief and hard-hitting. Adding more and more information dilutes the impact. A lame or trailing close gives an impression of uncertainty and weakness. Keep it crisp.

10. Leave space for a response.

If you keep talking, your listener cannot ask the questions you would like him/her to ask… for your card, for more information, for clarification. Make it easy by coming to a stop… and then waiting for him/her to speak. In sales, the wait is as important as words you use.

About the Author

Submitted by Diana Robinson, Ph.D., who can be reached at, or visited on the web at