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24.9.12



How do you introduce yourself? When you feel insecure, do you prop up your courage with your introduction? Do you include titles or accomplishments or "facts" when you don't need to?
If so, your introduction is all about you, not your audience.
Instead:
See less as more.
Brief introductions are always best. Provide the bare minimum the other person needs to know, not in an attempt to maintain distance, but because during a conversation more about you can be revealed in a natural, unforced, and therefore much more memorable way.
Stay in context.
If you meet another parent at a school meeting, for example, just say, "Hi, I'm Mark. My daughter is in third grade." Keep your introduction in context with the setting. If there is no real context, like at a gran fondo, just say, "Hi, I'm Mark. Good luck."
Embrace understatement.
Unless you're in a business setting, your job title is irrelevant. Even if you are in fact the CEO of WeKickSeriousButt Enterprises, just say you work there. To err is human. To err humble is divine.
Focus on the other person.


The other person is the only person that matters. Ask questions. Actually listen to the answers. The best connections never come from speaking; the best connections always come from listening.
That day I rolled into the finishing area well over six hours later. I stopped and slumped over my handlebars beside a small cluster of riders who had finished well before me. They were already changed and working on a post-ride beer.
One of them looked over and said, "How was it?"
"It sucked," I said.
They all laughed, and he said, "And it was awesome, right?"
I smiled, because it was. He reached over and gave me a fist bump. "I'll grab you a beer and you can tell us all about it," he said. I looked forward to the conversation more than the beer. Acceptance and camaraderie are earned by effort, not granted by title.

At that moment I happened to see Louis, sitting alone as he packed up his gear. I felt a twinge of sadness because he never allowed himself to just be a rider. He never gave himself the chance to fit in, enjoy a shared purpose, and to simply be a cyclist among cyclists.
When you introduce yourself, embrace the moment and the setting for what it says about you in that moment, not in comparison to your titles or accomplishments.
Just be whoever you are, skills and struggles and triumphs and failures and all. You are your true audience, even when you introduce yourself.
Always be yourself--especially to yourself.

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