How to professionally introduce yourself

Dunja Jovanovic

Last updated on: July 22, 2022

Introducing yourself in a professional setting can be nerve-wracking.

You have to be confident and charming, present the most important information about yourself, and appear as someone others would want to work with. 

It’s not an easy task, whether you’re:

  • Meeting your coworkers for the first time, 
  • Reaching out to a new client,
  • Attending a networking or work event, or 
  • Trying to ace a job interview.

That’s why, in this article, you’ll learn the most useful tips on how to professionally introduce yourself and leave a great first impression. 

How to introduce yourself - cover

Why does the first impression matter?

No pressure — but leaving a good first impression is a big deal.

There’s something called the primacy effect — in simple terms, it’s a tendency of our brains to recall the information presented first better than information presented at the middle or end of “a list of items”. 

Moreover, a Harvard study cited in Forbes revealed that after a bad first impression, it takes 8 subsequent positive encounters to change someone’s negative opinion of us.

This means that the first impression has a significant effect on how others perceive you — so, the way you introduce yourself matters. 

Nervous?

Easier said than done, but — don’t be. 

If you follow all of our tips when introducing yourself, I guarantee you will leave a good first impression and appear as pleasant and professional as one could be. 

Tip #1: Pay attention to your body language

If you are introducing yourself in a written form (via email or a team messaging app, for example), body language is not something you have to worry about.

However, if the introduction takes place in person, body language is crucial.

Answers to “How long does it take to form the first impression?” range from 33 milliseconds to 27 seconds, which is quite a difference. But the general consensus is — before you even have a chance to open your mouth, you will be “rated” by others.

Now, what body language cues are important to have, to improve that first impression and “rating”?

Here are some of them:

  • Smile
  • Clear voice
  • A firm handshake (but not too firm — crushing someone’s hand doesn’t leave a good impression, I’ll tell you that)
  • Good posture
  • Looking people in the eyes (but not too intensely, as it can come off as intimidating or even scary)

Moreover, along with having open body language, make sure you dress the part. 

Your clothes should be:

  • Appropriate for the occasion, 
  • Clean, and
  • Ironed.

But, your outfit doesn’t have to be boring — it’s a great way to show your personality.

Appearing confident and well-groomed can go a long way, partly because of the halo effect.

It’s a cognitive bias whereby one positive trait someone has (or our overall impression of a person) positively influences our judgment of other, related traits of theirs.

For example, if someone is assertive and well-spoken, we’ll assume they’re competent and knowledgeable — even though they might not necessarily be.

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

Body language is important factor in virtual meetings, too — check our tips for improving body language during virtual meetings:

Tip #2: Prepare what you’re going to say

As Benjamin Franklin said, “By failing to prepare, you’re preparing to fail”.

Before you introduce yourself to someone, prepare what you’re going to say.

But, don’t plan and memorize every single word — it will come off as if your speech was scripted.

Instead, have a general idea of what you’re going to talk about, while also leaving room for improvisation and letting your personality shine.

Additionally, planning what you’re going to say prevents you from rambling and oversharing. 

And why is this important?

Well, as harsh as it sounds, people you’re going to meet aren’t your friends — and you shouldn’t tell them your whole life story. 

Also, remember that others want their turn to talk too, so try not to overpower the conversation.

Extra tips: The information you should include when introducing yourself professionally

If you’re not sure what information to include, we got you covered.

  • Start with the most basic information: your name and current job title
  • In case they are not familiar with what your job title entails, you can describe what you do in a sentence or two. Often, this may be necessary. For example, everyone knows what teachers or lawyers do, but there are many new(er) job titles that people outside your industry are not familiar with, so you might have to clarify. (If I had a dollar every time someone asked me what content writers do…) 
  • Explain why you’re reaching out, if it’s not already obvious. You can also mention a mutual connection (if there is any) to capture their attention — e.g. “Peter Smith from Finances gave me your email.”
  • Let them know what value you can provide. The best way to be memorable and make people interested is to show how you can benefit them. This is especially true in more formal contexts, such as job interviews, where it’s crucial to let interviewers know how you can help their company and what skills and qualifications make you stand out.

Examples of good professional introductions

All put together, a professional introduction should sound something like this.

Example of an introduction at a job interview

Hello, my name is Samantha Johnson, and I’ve been working as a social media manager for the past 7 years. 

I’m excited for the opportunity to be a part of your Marketing team! 

I’ve successfully managed many social media accounts, including X and Y, and I would love to help you grow your social media, increase your brand awareness, and improve communication with your customers.”

Since she’s at a job interview, she doesn’t need to clarify what her job title means — hiring managers should be familiar with the position and what it entails. 

Then, she goes on to:

  • Express her enthusiasm to work for their company
  • Mentions the relevant work experience and achievements (i.e. the successful social media accounts she’s been managing)
  • Describes how she’s going to provide value to the company

All of this makes an excellent introduction in a job interview.

Example of an introduction to new colleagues

When Samantha gets the job, she will introduce herself to her new coworkers in a more informal, but still professional manner:

Hi, I’m Samantha! 

I’m your new Social Media Manager — so if you see someone making TikToks in the office, that’s me, haha!

I’m really happy to be a part of the team, and I look forward to working with you all.

Example of an introduction to a coworker to ask for a favor

If you need to ask a coworker you don’t know for a favor, you need to introduce yourself first — especially if you’re new to the company.

This makes a lot of people anxious, but it doesn’t have to be as awkward as you’d imagine it would be.  

First, tell your coworker your name and what you do. Then, politely but without beating around the bush, tell them why you’re contacting them.

Don’t make the message too long — they are likely busy and appreciate a message that is short and straight to the point. 

Example of introducing yourself to a coworker on Pumble
Example of introducing yourself on Pumble, a team messaging app

Phrases to use when introducing yourself professionally

We now know how to introduce ourselves in theory — but, let’s go over some specific phrases we can use.

Start simple, for example:

  • “Hi, my name is __, and I’m a [job title] at [company]”
  • “Let me introduce myself, I’m…”
  • “Nice to meet you, my name is…”
  • “I don’t think we’ve met before — I’m…”

When you’re describing what you do, you can stick to “I’m [job title] at [company]”, as we’ve mentioned above — or you can say:

  • “I work in [field/industry]”
  • “Currently, my job is to…”
  • “I work as a [job title], and my role is to…”
  • “My job is [job title], which essentially means …”
  • “I work as a [job title]. I’m responsible for…”
  • “I work with [person].”
  • “I’m self-employed/freelancer in [industry].”

Then, you can let them know why you’re there and/or what they can expect from you:

  • “I’m here to…”
  • “I’m reaching out because…”
  • For the next [amount of time], I’m going to…”
  • “My purpose today is…”
  • “I’d love to…”

Tip #3: Show interest in the person you’re talking to

If the introduction goes well, it will lead to a full-blown conversation. What are you going to talk about?

If you planned to just continue talking about yourself — well, I advise you to change your plan.

No one is particularly fond of “me, me, me” persons.

In his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie said: “To be interesting, be interested.” 

In other words, the best way to spark the interest of others is to be interested in what they have to say.

That’s also a good way to form an actual connection with someone, which can benefit you in many ways.

How to show interest, you may wonder?

  • Listen attentively and carefully.
  • Ask questions. You can do it to summarize what’s been said and make sure you understand, or you can ask follow-up questions to dig deeper and show interest in the topic.
  • Have open body language (see Tip #1).
  • It may sound silly, but when they’re speaking, nod from time to time. It shows that you’re engaged and following along.
  • Don’t interrupt people.
  • Show appreciation — e.g. “It was a pleasure meeting you. Thank you for your time and your invaluable advice. Looking forward to talking to you again soon.

Note: At first glance, this tip doesn’t seem applicable in some contexts — like job interviews, where a conversation is more structured.

However, showing interest and asking questions is still a way to go — your questions would just revolve around a position, company culture, expectations, etc., instead of the person you’re talking to.

What NOT to do when you’re introducing yourself professionally

Is there something we have to pay attention not to do when introducing ourselves in a professional setting?

Yes, there is — for example, DON’T:

  • Use the same introduction in every situation. The way you introduce yourself to your new manager would be different from the way you greet a new coworker, right?
    Tailor your introduction according to the occasion, level of formality, and who you’re going to meet.
  • Complain and be negative. Even if what you’re saying is true, there’s a time and place for everything, and you don’t want to be remembered as a negative Nancy.
    If your criticism is specific and constructive, share it with the person who’s in charge of that particular thing you want to criticize (or HR).
  • Check your phone every couple of minutes. You may be doing it because you’re nervous, but it comes off as rude and shows disinterest in the person you’re talking to.
    Even if you’re busy, you can spare a few minutes to connect with someone without interruptions.
  • Assume everyone comes from the same (cultural) context as you. This is especially true if you work in a multinational company or your network is multicultural. For example, grabbing someone’s hand and giving it a firm shake is perfectly acceptable in the west, but it would make a person from Japan uncomfortable — their handshakes are much softer.

💡 Pumble Pro Tip

If you’re having trouble navigating cross-cultural communication in a business environment, check out our blog post:

Conclusion: When introducing yourself, preparation and amiability are key 

You only get to make the first impression once.

Luckily, there are a few things you can do that can make almost everyone form a positive opinion of you: 

  • Have open body language, smile, and look people in the eyes
  • Be well-groomed
  • Prepare in advance
  • Make your introduction relevant, informative, and not too long
  • Show interest in other people 

And, of course — be yourself. Your personality is what will make you stand out and connect with others. 

Author: DunjaJovanovic

Dunja Jovanovic is a writer and researcher passionate about communication and psychology, especially in a professional setting. As she's no stranger to working remotely, she likes helping others survive in a virtual work environment and communicate as effectively as possible. When she's not writing, she's probably trying out the communication improvement strategies she stumbled upon during her never-ending research.

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