I recently had the pleasure to work with young people on a family camp. I really enjoyed it. I don’t think I would’ve enjoyed it much if I’d missed an important reminder. It is important to introduce yourself to people when you meet them for the first time. This takes away the initial awkwardness and helps facilitate interaction better from this start.
As people introduce themselves to you they also give you hints about how they’d like to be interacted with. Some people immediately tell you, “I’m merely introducing myself to you out of necessity and please keep everything to business, don’t ask how many cats I have!” Other people want to get something more out of their interactions than just a task at hand.
Some people are quick to let off what is closest to their hearts. If you listen carefully to them they are also telling you, “if you want me to care about what you have to say, show that you care about me by asking about whether my cat and dog get along!” Introductions generally set the tone for subsequent interaction.
People often start deciding whether they “buy into you” from the moment you extend your hand and utter the first words. Like the saying goes, “You’ll never get a second chance to make a first impression”. Just a reminder: It is also not so much what you say but how you say it. Both are important hence the need to pay attention and be very intentional about them.
Put in a different way, introductions are the initial lens by which people view us and have a long-lasting effect that may take a while to change. I am not saying be someone you are not but be careful and intentional with your introductions.
What do you think is important when people introduce themselves?
illustration by Lara McElroy, flickr