Giving a Great Self Introduction Speech Use self introduction speeches to create a positive first impression Giving a self introduction speech is quite a common occurrence in most business and academic settings. Introducing yourself can be awkward enough in one-on-one situations but having to introduce yourself to a group of strangers can be even more awkward and intimidating. These requests can catch you off guard if you're not prepared, and you only get one chance to make the all important first impression. Practice and preparation can go a long way for preparing a great speech that introduces you in the best possible light. A self introduction speech is often called for at a first meeting of a group. It could be a work based seminar, a hobby group, or your new class at the start of the term... The possibilities are endless. The one thing these settings share in common is the need to make a bunch of strangers feel at ease - to quickly establish a sense of unity or belonging. One of commonest ways of breaking the ice is to have each member of the group give a brief self introduction speech. Usually the leader will start and around the group you go, one by one. What do you say? What will interest people? And more importantly if you're anxious, what will stop the fear of making a fool of yourself? First impressions count so let’s look at the elements that go together to make a good self- introductory speech. Stating your name clearly Placing yourself - where you are from, the organization you belong to, the position you currently hold Background - what can you share that is related to the group’s core purpose for meeting? Is it an event, experience, a particular skill or educational qualification? Interest, passion or goal - what particularly interests you? What drives you? What is the personal goal you want to achieve within this group? Sharing personal details - hobbies or pet peeves Unity - what do you share in common with someone else in the group? If putting together a self introduction speech is sprung on you with very little warning use the few minutes you have before it is your turn to organize your thoughts. If you’re inclined to be tongue-tied or awkward don’t listen to what others are saying before you. You'll get mesmerized by their speeches and unable to plan for yourself which will heighten your anxiety. Like any other speech, a self introductory speech can be divided into three different sections or parts. They are: introduction, body of the speech and the conclusion Grab a piece of paper the moment the round-robin introduction is announced and start jotting down ideas. Start with the basic information - your name, where you are from etc. and then add more from the list above. From those additional points select one to focus on. Make your comments personal as well as relevant to the group. Generally the timing allowed for an introductory speech is about 60 seconds. Going over that is poor form. It eats into everybody else’s speaking time but more than that rambling on about yourself without point as far as the group is concerned is boring and egotistical. 'What's in it for me?' rules supreme! If you know you have situations coming up that will call for a self introduction speech - start generating one ahead of time. Make yourself an adaptable template that you can use whatever the situation you are in. Practicing it out loud will help you refine and hone your message. It’s worth doing as this speech can set the way in which others view you. With repetition you'll gain the confidence to speak for yourself concisely and cohesively. The temptation to succumb to a fit of the blithers will have vanished! Rules of Thumb for Self Introduction Speeches Rule number one is: focus on one speech topic. If you have to come up with a very brief 30, 60 second or a somewhat longer - two or three minutes - self introduction, make sharp choices. Do not write an award winning boring autobiography :-) Due to the fact you have to write your speech around one theme, I recommend you should develop one aspect of your life. That aspect will tell who you are and what you are about. Some people call this self introduction speech type a one-point speech, because it’s based on one speech idea. Instructions 1. Start with a descriptive icebreaker. Using narrative and anecdotes will do more to engage listeners than cut-and-dried declarative statements. If your reason for getting up in the morning is music, describe those few moments before taking the stage to draw listeners into your experience. This helps them understand its importance. 2. Write down one sentence---a thesis---that communicates something about your character, a passion in your life or your goals. In her book “Business Communication: Process and Product” Mary Ellen Guffey advises, “…decide what you want your audience to believe, remember, or do when you finish.” Do not put yourself down, diminish your accomplishments or paint yourself as a slacker; instead, focusing on the positive helps listeners think the best of you. 3. Come up with key points to back up your thesis. If you say you are a go getter, think of two or three specific examples that back up that statement. According to “Essentials of Public Speaking” by Cheryl Hamilton, “The key is to give enough vivid detail that your listeners can picture the event.” Saying you are a quick learner, for example, would not be as effective as sharing that you taught yourself a new language or computer software over the summer break by studying five hours a day from books checked out from the library. 4. Restate your thesis’ controlling idea and summarize any supporting examples. Continue where the introductory narrative left off, such as describing the exhilaration of playing a successful show. Conclude with an upbeat statement that looks forward to the future, including your excitement about getting to know others, and contributing to and being part of the group. 5. Hit the main points quickly if you are given fewer than five minutes to prepare. Imagine what you think others might want to know. Writing down your major course of study, favorite classes, music, books and hobbies and including specific information about genres, titles, authors and instruments gives listeners enough information to identify with you in a positive way. How do you give self introduction in interview? Your self-introduction in an interview is an extremely important part of the entire time, especially if the job will be in management or sales. You typically have about 20 or 30 seconds to introduce yourself. We call this “the elevator speech”. Eye contact is very important. You should engage, make eye contact, but not stare down or threaten the other person. The handshake is important, somewhat firm but not crushing. Posture is important. Remaining somewhat close, leaning slightly forward (if distances permit), head up, shoulders balanced. You should clearly say your name, what you do, what you would like to do, something that shows you know something about the business, and how you think you can help the person on the other side of the desk. “My name is John Jones and I am an experienced problem solver for marketing departments. I know that you have an opening here in your West Coast Marketing Group, and I understand that you are concerned that your California advertising campaign is not producing as you expected. I have worked on several successful advertising campaigns and have had some great results in improving positioning. I know that I could step into this role and show you some progress from day one. Could I tell you more about what I have done?” The elevator speech needs to be practiced and ready. You should be able to modify for circumstances. It should elicit interest in your portfolio, recommendations, CV or resume. It should not conflict with anything in your cover letter, application, or resume. It should not sound “canned”; you have to be alive. STUDENT INTRODUCTION QUESTIONNAIRE Name_________________________ Major_________________________ Possible Questions you might answer in your introduction speech. What reason(s) do you have for taking this class? What specific goals do you have for improving your speaking? (What would you like to learn how to do? Is there a particular problem you would like to overcome?) What kinds of speaking experiences have you had in your classes, jobs, church, extracurricular activities, organizations, etc.? When did you give your last speech? What was the topic? What are your career plans? How will public speaking be important to your career?
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