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How to Introduce Yourself and Impress People



Have an important job interview? First day of class? About to meet new people at a party or other gathering? Impress other people by making a strong introduction right from the get-go.


Method One of Three:
Introducing Yourself in a Job Interview

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    Prepare talking points beforehand.Recall past interviews and questions you were asked during them. Expect similar if not the same exact questions to be put to you now. Consider the exact position you’re applying for now and how that may effect the line of questioning. Prepare answers and talking points to address the following topics: [1]

    • How your previous experience (whether it be other jobs, education, or volunteer programs) may have prepared you for this specific job.
    • What skills you have in general, but more specifically those that are strongest and those that are most relevant to the job at hand.
    • Instances where you’ve solved problems in the past that demonstrate your ability to succeed under stress.
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    Practice before your interview. Rehearse your talking points. Ask friend or family to role-play with you. Record yourself and play it back to identify any points that aren’t communicated clearly. If you find yourself forgetting key points, write a cheat sheet to study right up to the point you’re called in for your interview.[2]

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    Introduce yourself immediately. Once the interview begins, frame an introduction that instantly communicates exactly what you want your future employers to know about you right from the get-go. Set yourself apart from other candidates by painting a distinct picture of yourself in just a few words. When asked to “tell us about yourself,” reply with a brief description loaded with relevant, impressive facts. For example: [3]

    • “I graduated fourth in my class, with honors, from Such-and-Such University.”
    • “I was a manager at Such-and-Such Company for x-number of years, where I was responsible for a staff of x-amount of people.”
    • “I’m a self-motivated freelance writer with credits in these publications . . .”
    • “I’m the president of my student body, for which I’ve organized these events and fundraisers . . .”
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    List your accomplishments. If possible, use examples of work-related feats you’ve pulled off that speak directly to the position you’re applying for. Otherwise, talk about achievements that you’re genuinely proud of from other areas of your life. Share the skills that you excel at, as well as the pride you take in your performance. [4] For instance: [5]

    • “I’m quick to identify areas that need improvement. At my former job, I implemented a new system for work-flow that increased our output despite a shrinking workforce and increasing workloads.”
    • “I’m a great multi-tasker. I went back to school and graduated at the top of my class while working full-time and raising a child as a single parent at the same time.”
    • “I take leadership roles very seriously. I’ve been the captain of my sports team for the last two years as well as the president of these school clubs.”
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    Set your own challenges. Consider the specific position you’re applying for. Tell the interviewer exactly what experience you hope to get out of it beyond a simple paycheck. If you’re truly passionate about the work you’ll be doing, share that passion. Even if you’re not passionate about it, tell them what you aim to achieve for your own personal satisfaction. Let them know why this job is so important to you, like: [6]

    • “I care very deeply about the environment. Being able to participate in this outreach program and educate as many other people as possible about the dangers we face is extremely important to me.”
    • “I’m a voracious reader. I’m really excited about working in a bookstore, sharing recommendations with customers and colleagues, and expanding my own horizons.”
    • “I believe very strongly in giving back to the community, and although I wouldn’t be saving lives like a doctor or nurse, being able to help this hospital run as efficiently as possible in the kitchen would still be very fulfilling to me.”

Method Two of Three:
Impressing People in a New Workplace

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    Listen to others. Keep your grand tales of past success and future plans to yourself at first. Learn as much as you can about your company and fellow staff by allowing other people to fill you in. Ask questions about how things are done and how they think things should be done. Show that you value them as a source of knowledge and guidance based on their experience.

    • “How does the average workday/workweek break down here, schedule-wise?”
    • “Is there anything I could do to improve communication between our two departments?”
    • “Would you find it more helpful if I turn in my signed invoices for the week all at once or one by one as I sign them?”
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    Ask for help when needed. Don’t bluff your way through situations where you find yourself lost. Show your superiors that you mean to do the best job possible by wanting to know exactly how to do things. Pay your fellow coworkers a compliment by relying on them as trusted guides who can teach you. [8]

    • Be sure to do this even if–or especially if–you’re in a supervisory role in a new setting. Even if you have plenty of experience in your particular field, expect to be unfamiliar with odd details that are unique to this new company. Earn respect from your team by showing respect for their years of service and knowledge.
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    Admit to your mistakes. If you screw something up, alert people to the fact so it can be remedied as quickly as possible. When you’re debating about the best way to accomplish tasks, offer your opinions, but concede when someone else offers a better plan. Prove to your supervisors and colleagues that you’re worried less about looking good than about getting the job done. [9]

    • Practice this honesty with workers under your supervision as well. Gain their respect by freely admitting that you too are capable of mistakes. If they know you screwed up but hear you deny it, they’ll trust you less.
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    Shun the spotlight. Show everyone that you’re more concerned with performing your job well than receiving attention for it. Even if you’re largely responsible for a successful project, stand back and share credit with those who assisted you. Build a team spirit while demonstrating that your primary goal is to help the company as opposed to yourself alone.[10]

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Method Three of Three:
Making a Strong First Impression in Social Settings

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    Keep your introduction simple.Introduce yourself by name. Unless any further info is needed immediately, leave everything else unmentioned. Remember: unlike a job interview, there’s no rush here to advertise all of your best qualities right up front. Allow the other person to learn about you organically, through a give-and-take conversation. If the situation calls for it, add a relevant fact to further identify yourself when you first meet, like:

    • “Hi, I’m ___, the birthday boy’s best friend.”
    • “Hi, I’m ___. Your daughter’s in the same class as my son.”
    • “Hi, I’m ___. Your brother and I work in the same office.”
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    Be confident. Impress people by not worrying about whether or not you’re impressing them. Stay true to yourself instead. Of course, we all have different sides to ourselves, so be the “you” that’s most appropriate to the situation. For example: [13]

    • If you’re meeting a new study-partner, keep the focus on your schoolwork and school-life in general.
    • If you’re meeting people for the first time after moving to a new area, play up your role as the recent transplant experiencing culture shock.
    • If a mutual friend has invited you (as well as a bunch of other friends of theirs who are die-hard fans) to a sports game that you’re unfamiliar with, stay true to your outsider status instead of pretending to be an expert.
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    Refrain from bragging. Feel free to talk about things in your life that you’re proud of if the conversation turns that way, but keep it in check. Earn the other person’s respect with your actions in the here and now instead of demanding it by talking about all the things you’re achieved in the past. Prove to them that you’re confident of your own self-worth and don’t need other people’s admiration to bolster it. [14]

    • If the conversation turns to your job, tell them where you work and maybe a very general description of what you do, while leaving any fancy job titles unmentioned.[15]
    • If they recognize you as an All-State athlete, play down your own accomplishment and credit your team and/or coach for making it at all possible.[16]
    • If someone else mentions how you rushed into a burning building last week to save a pet cat, show or feign embarrassment and then switch topics rather than gloat over your own bravery.
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    Share your anxieties or discomforts. If you find yourself uncomfortable for whatever reason, mention the fact lightly. Show your self-confidence by freely admitting that you’re not perfect. Make the other person more comfortable by showing them that they’re free to do the same. This way you’re more likely to take command of the situation instead of being at its mercy. [17]

    • If you have trouble remembering names (especially if you’re being introduced to many people at once), fess up and apologize that you’ll probably forget them by the end of the night. If they know this, they’re more likely to repeat their names for your benefit later on.
    • If you’re uncomfortable at large parties or gatherings, say as much if it’s crimping your style. Let the other person know that your best self is better seen in more intimate settings.
    • If you’re on a first date and haven’t dated for a while (or at all), share this with your date. Assure them that any odd behavior on your part is due to a lack of experience, and not a reflection on them personally.
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    Listen. Build a real conversation between yourselves instead of just talking at each other. When they tell you something, respond directly to their comment. If you have a personal story that’s relevant to what they’ve said, be sure to tell it in a way that clearly shows your story is a response, and not just an opportunity to switch subjects and talk about yourself. Ask follow-up questions when they tell their own stories to show that they have your interest. [18]

    • “I never thought of it that way. I’ll have to watch that movie again with that fan theory in mind.”
    • “That sounds like a pretty stressful vacation. Would you go back there again if you had the chance?”
    • “The same thing happened to me once, or almost the same thing. Only in my case …”
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    Think the best about the other person.Ensure that you’ll make a good impression by persuading them that they’ve done the same with you. Don’t undermine your own introduction by judging theirs unfairly. Assume they mean the best, even when they make a faux-pas. Always give people the benefit of the doubt until they give you a very real reason not to.[19]

Quick Summary

To introduce yourself and impress people in a social setting, start by saying your name and give them some context, like, “My name is Jill, I think we’re in the same English class.” After you’ve introduced yourself, continue the conversation by asking the other person questions, like “What do you think of that class?” When the person responds, actively listen, and asking follow-up questions to show that you’re interested in what they have to say. For example, if the person talks about what they think of the teacher, say “I agree that our teacher is…” and rephrase what they said back to them!

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