Allow Me to Introduce…

People, women especially, do a poor or mediocre job, at best, of introducing themselves.  Either we say too little, thus undercutting our value, or we say way too much and come across as pompous, arrogant and narcissistic.  I’ll never forget, several years ago when my friend, mentor and then board chairperson, Lesa, told me that I was never allowed to introduce myself again – that, instead, she would be responsible for introducing me because I did not do a good enough job of sharing my gifts and that it would be easier for her to do.  All these years later, whenever Lesa insists on introducing me, I find that I am still a little embarrassed and a lot more grateful – she makes me sound kind of amazing by highlighting qualities and accolades I wouldn’t think of mentioning.  It makes me feel great and positions me well with the kinds of people who I want to meet.

I was reminded of this phenomenon twice over the past week.  During two separate client engagements, the person who introduced me prior to my Networking Workshops personalized their remarks based on my prior interactions with them.  Sure, they shared some of the important resume points, so to speak, but more striking were the thoughtful and kind comments they each made from the heart.  It was both humbling and gratifying.

The great news is that we can each commit to doing this for each other.  In fact, we should plan for it.  Take these ideas into consideration:

  1. Introduce one another. When you head into a networking event, plan to introduce your contacts or colleagues around.  Take charge of sharing their backgrounds, skillsets and strengths with others.  You will do a much better job of bragging on them than they can ever do for themselves.  Hopefully, they will return the favor by telling everyone how great you are!  You might even work out the plan with one or more colleagues in advance of the event.
  2. Serve as a reference. If you have a friend who is applying for an opportunity or submitting a bid for a project or big deal, seek their permission to send a note of reference and/or recommendation to the decision maker.  Your unsolicited advocacy of that individual for the position or contract may be the differentiator that wins them the gig.
  3. Tell the truth. No need to make up stuff.  Everyone has strengths, gifts and talents that they bring to the table.  Talk with your friend or colleague about their interests, experiences, passions – understand who they are so you can position them for success when you introduce them to people who are relying on you for good information.

Do you have a story or example of a time you either were introduced or did the introducing?  How did it go?  What were the circumstances?  Please take a moment to share your thoughts at  Happy Networking!

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