Think of how often we introduce ourselves, but also introduce others.
Now consider how often you introduce yourself or others using your job title.
In my junior year of college, I lived with a couple of ladies that I didn’t know very well. We all had overlaps in our group of friends, but for the most part, we spent our time with different people. We used to throw these ladies’ nights that I am dying to bring back.
All three of us roommates would invite a variety of friends. The only requirement to attend — everyone has to bring a friend that is most people don’t know.
The PURPOSE of this party was for people to meet new people.
How fun is that??
This meant that we spent a good chunk of time making introductions since we were all meeting a variety of new people.
If you think this is a fun idea — check out my thoughts on hosting an open house party.
Let’s talk about the most crucial part of this whole experience-
How to Introduce yourself, but also how to introduce others.
Does this introduction feel familiar?
How many times have you heard this?
“Erika, meet Tom. Tom works at X Accounting Firm. Erika works at Y Software Company. “
And then you walk away.
“Erika, I’d like to introduce you to Tom. Tom is a Tax Accountant Michael and Erika, and I met in college before we both started at our separate PR Firms. “
Reasons why I don’t love introductions that focus on job title –
- WORK does not define you. It does, however, seem to consume so much of your life and somehow has become a marker of worth. Don’t get me wrong; I have some of the most ambitious friends you will find and am incredibly proud of all their achievements. However, some people, even with the highest-ranking job titles, aren’t happy with their jobs. Some people’s jobs are harder to explain and leave that person feeling like they are less worthy than the person with an everyday job description.
- You aren’t giving them anything that starts a meaningful conversation. A job title defines people by their career when they are so much more. Consider your immediate thoughts when I mention the following jobs – lawyer, car salesperson, mailman, mechanic, accountant, wedding photographer.
Overall, we can do better. Let’s discuss some better introductions.
Might I suggest this form an introduction instead?
- Talk about things that light that person up.
- Consider common interests
- Bring in how you know that person.
“Erika, I want you to meet Juan.
“Juan introduced Michael and me back in college. We like to keep him around because he is unreal at charades, which gets him many automatic party invites.”
“Erika and I met over a late-night craving of tacos freshman year of college. We’ve been inseparable ever since, and she is just about to depart on a grand adventure in Europe.”
“You both might have a lot to talk about since I know Juan went to Italy last year and loves giving away his favorite little cafes. I’ve got to go check on dinner, but Juan is sure to tell her all your secret spots.”
Now, as you walk away, they have a variety of topics to choose from — Little Italian Cafes, Tom’s impressive charade skills, Michael’s college memories, where else Erika is going in Europe. If they make it to jobs, then so be it, but this goes way beyond that.
You’ve set your friends up for a lively and exciting conversation!
Please set your friends up for success. They want a conversation that lights them up, not a conversation full of pleasantries.
BTW – I love a good online game night. This would be a great way to introduce friends that don’t know each other. You’d definitely want to be aware of how you are making introductions.
I might as well tell you why I care so much about this.
Years ago, I was a wedding planner, and people loved to introduce me by saying, “This is my friend Alex. She’s a wedding planner and has a million great stories.”
Then I would be stuck in a 30-minute conversation about the cost of weddings, that one wedding you attended last year, your wedding day, your favorite wedding, and endless other stories.
Everyone has “that one wedding story.”
Sure, I have tons of stories about moments that saved the day, extravagant requests, or unique details, but none of those light me up.
What would I want to talk about instead?
- Where someone is traveling
- Where I am planning my next trip to
- The new restaurant I tried last week, only to find out that you
- Our mutual friend’s love of theater and how many shows she’s dragged each of us to
- My new love of plants and the fact that my fiddle leaf has a new branch. I’ll happily tell you how to keep one alive!
Anything. But. Weddings.
Some people love their jobs and could talk about them all day.
Others love their jobs and are crushing it in their field only to wish to remain humble.
Some people just like to leave their work at the office.
Planning to invite someone to a get-together?
It is vital to consider how you can facilitate some great introductions and set your friend up for success overall. Some things to consider –
- It’s a great idea to let your new friend know that a majority of the guests know each other (if this is the case).
- Let your friend know you want them to meet particular guests and a few things about them.
- Ask a few friends who are familiar with most people at the gathering know to make a concerted effort to connect with the guest.
- Invite more than one new person! A few new people can be a good mix. Make sure to be intentional about connecting those new people.
- Remember that you invited that new friend. That is vulnerable on your part, but your responsibility doesn’t end after your friend walks into the party, and you get them a drink. Be sure to help them with the vulnerability required to meet so many new people.