One of the most common topics you will have to speak about is yourself. While this might sound easy, many people struggle. It is difficult to pick out the interesting points from a subject you know so well.
Fortunately, there are many occasions to ‘practice’ this presentation. It could be as simple as meeting new people in a social situation. Perhaps it’s more formal, such as presenting yourself to colleagues in a meeting.
In general, you should be brief and interesting. Being brief is usually not hard, just stick to a few simple sentences that take up less than one minute of someone’s time. Being interesting is a little more difficult.
One of the best ways to connect with another person is through emotions. Many scientific studies have shown that people are more likely to remember something if they made an emotional connection. The most extreme example of this is the ‘flashbulb memory’ a term referring to the vivid recollection of a surprising and consequential event, such as when someone dies or an important global event occurs (Brown and Kulik, 1977).
The best way of creating emotions in a presentation is through storytelling. When you are introducing yourself a short anecdote can be useful. For instance, since many people mispronounce my last name, I like to tell a short story about how it is pronounced like the Garden of Eden. You can share a story about your name, some situational humour or any short personal story about yourself.
Here are some other techniques you can use in specific situations:
Interviewers notoriously love to start the interview with a question like “Tell me about yourself.” This is not the moment to begin a chronological monologue about your work history.
You need to seize the moment and stand out.
One easy method of doing this is picking three positive qualities about yourself (related to the job) and tell the interviewer, “I can summarise myself in three words.” Then go into a short explanation about each one. You can include short stories to reinforce your points. This should take no more than 2 minutes.
This method helps you to present yourself quickly in an organised way. You can also practice it at home. It helps take the pressure off the first few minutes of the interview for both native and non-native English speakers.
At a networking event you will have to present yourself several times. As you most likely have experienced, it’s hard to remember someone’s name when you are meeting so many people in a short space of time. So it is important to be memorable.
“A person’s name is the single context of human memory most apt to be forgotten.” – Sigmund Freud
Instead of qualities that would make you the right pick for a job, tell a story about yourself. Not just any story, but perhaps one related to your career choice or how you became an entrepreneur. A memorable short story that will make the other person want to know more about you.
For instance, if you are attending a pharmaceutical networking event in your current city. You could tell the story of how you ended up moving to this city or why you are working in the pharmaceutical sector.
Again this is something you can practice at home, test it out a few events and improve it. You can even have several versions for different occasions.