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3 Secrets of Presenting Yourself in that 20 Second Introduction

Three secrets of making the right impression when you introduce yourself: have a point, take your time, and say it with conviction. All 3 are things you do when you do naturally under certain circumstances.

So let’s look at developing a 20-second intro. It needs to sound interesting. For example: Think of someone trying to get you to sign a petition. How many seconds do they have to grab your interest? As I hurtled into a store the other day, the petitioner said, “Would you like to help bring down insurance rates?”

Your sound bite intro is about sizzle, not steak. It’s about benefits, not features. And it’s not so much about being factual as it is to help someone focus. Give them something to process.

Engage them. Now having said that, we’re not striving for cute. Interesting, attention getting, engaging, genuine. If you’ve caught their attention, they’ll be around to see you later in the meeting. If it’s one-on-one they’ll ask some follow up questions.

So, how tight is your sound bite? One shining example of a tight one is an ABC promotional I saw: “Marry rich. Kill him. Repeat.” A message that short is attention getting and easy for you to remember.

I could introduce myself as a communications consultant (huh? telephones? computers? therapy?). If anyone asks me any questions, they’re probably desperate for someone to talk to, not interested in my business. I could say I teach seminars on public speaking. Or coach public speakers.

Here are some I’ve used. “I make it easy for people to give effective presentations.” “I teach people to make presentations and not be nervous and not be boring.”“I can make you look and feel good the next time you give a presentation.”

Secret #1, have a point. One that matters to your audience.

Secret #2, take your time. To do this you need to be comfortable with silence. That is, comfortable with pausing and breathing. Give yourself time to stand up. Give yourself time to think and to look at people. Give yourself the air you need to continue thinking.

Breathing and pausing are things you do pretty naturally – except whey you’re getting ready to speak, and while you’re speaking.

As your turn gets closer, keep breathing. When you start to speak, pause to be sure the audience is ready and to be sure your mind is in gear. You look and sound more credible. Make eye contact with 2 or 3 people during your sound bite. Pause. Make eye contact with 2 more people and sit down. If you start to speak the moment you’re in front of the group, you have no power, you look out of control, you feel out of control. Pause and breathe.

Secret #3. And this takes a lot of practice. Say it with conviction. Suzy Orman the TV money adviser has a saying: “Powerfulness attracts money. Powerlessness repels money.” Conviction goes out the window when we’re worried. There are so many ways to be distracted when you’re in front of a group, that what you meant to say as a statement, may come out as a question. Maybe it’s because someone else in the room who has been in your business longer than you have, or because you’re not sure how to describe your business.

If it comes out as a question, there goes your credibility. And you can do it without knowing it. Repelling business and never knowing why.

So, if you want people to pay attention when you stand up to speak, first and always remember it’s not about you. And use these three secrets: have a point (one that matters to your audience.) Take your time. Pause before you start and after you finish making your point. And three, say it with conviction. You’ll notice the difference right away.