Self-introductory speeches or ice-breakers say a lot about us.
That is, of course, if they are well written. There are lots of reasons why one would need to introduce oneself. The speaker might be a new head teacher introducing himself to staff and pupils. He might be in a rhetoric group and speaking publicly for the first time. He could be giving an elevator speech and selling his business . Whatever the reason he has to know himself before he speaks.
That’s a challenge to most of us. It is a sad fact that lots of us are unsure of ourselves or, alternatively, too sure of ourselves. Some of us think of ourselves as just ordinary while others are convinced that they are the most wonderful people on earth. The truth is usually somewhere in between. What we have to realise, and explain in that speech, is that each one of us is unique.
Self-introductory speeches should explain that uniqueness. Every one of us is different. Every one of us has different talents and skills. We have different backgrounds, different beliefs and different religions or even none. Every one of us absorbs information differently. Some of us are moody, others cheerful. So before we write that speech we need to ask ourselves “Who am I?” and “What am I really like?”
You could begin by saying that you are John, aged fifty and you sell cars for a livelihood. That’s all very well but there are lots of Johns aged fifty who sell cars. Maybe instead you might start by saying, “I sell cars but I worry about it because while I know they are convenient I also know they are damaging the environment.” Immediately people know they you are a thinking person with modern day concerns. Alternatively, you could say I have been selling cars for ten years and I love test driving them, especially the sports cars. Again you are a car salesman but one with a love of speed and gadgetry.
If you are trying to sell your business of course you want to come across as someone who has the answer to your potential client’s problem. You need to sell yourself too as a genuine person, an ethical businessman. You should speak of your record in your field and of major clients who are already satisfied with your business. You need to explain that your product has its own unique qualities and that you offer a very personal overall service.
Most of us if asked to describe ourselves would hesitate before replying. We don’t want to sound boastful so it’s unlikely that we will say we are generous or kind although we may think we are. It’s unlikely too that we would say that we were brilliant footballers. Saying that you play in division one of the league and train five nights a week says the same thing but in less boastful terms. It also conjures up a picture of a fit, agile person committed to his sport.
Giving just a list of what you do is boring. Involving others in your enthusiasms and hobbies is not. Painting a picture of yourself is really what a self introductory speech does. So make sure the one you paint describes you as a person with personality, passion and the ability to live life to the full.