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A Healthy Introduction

According to the National Mental Health Association/National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare, one of the top 10 things you can do for your mental health is to surround yourself with good people. Those with strong social connections tend to be healthier than those who lack a support system.

That's good news for me. I am always interested in meeting new people, so it is nice to know its good for my health!

A month ago, I had the opportunity to meet an unusually large number of new people. I was struck by how much a person can convey through the act of introduction. A good introduction is a great opportunity to present oneself in a specific, deliberate manner to make a strong impression.

2011_nov28_connectionsHow you introduce yourself to someone new is how that person will “know” and remember you. A good introduction sets the stage for a relationship.

There are several things that you can do to prepare for future introductions and to familiarize yourself with the practice of introducing the best version of yourself.

1.Take a look at yourself

How do you determine what is most interesting about yourself? We all have natural traits, talents and skills; how do you determine what distinguishes you? Some people refer to this as having good personal brand, but I just call it self-awareness. Whatever you call it, the important thing is to analyze what you really have to offer others.

Do sort of a personal SWOT analysis. Honestly assess your personal strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and potential threats to your success. This can help you to better determine how people see you in the future. Promote those aspects about yourself with which you are most happy. Let those strengths guide your introductions. It isn't boasting: it's enthusiasm, and that's contagious.

2. Prepare to meet

After you hone in on the personal strengths that you want to highlight when meeting others, it is important to do a few trial runs before utilizing this method with a new client, potential employer, etc. Use this introduction technique by practicing with new people that you encounter in your daily life. You can prepare yourself by practicing with strangers you will meet and greet for a very short time, such as cashiers, clerks or o. If it comes off wrong (and it usually won't), you won't have jeopardized a long-term relationship.

Practice introducing yourself in a way that highlights the skills and positive characteristics you possess.  This may sound phony or forced, but it isn't. People who practice their introductions are doing a favor for the new people they meet: they make it as easy as possible for strangers to become familiar with the authentic person. A good introduction avoids confusion and noise, and simply shows who you really are.

3. Practice what you Preach

Similar to any business that claims it offers great service or value, if you are all talk and no action, you will lose credibility, brand affinity and customers (or in your case people who believe in you). You must have the ability to deliver on the person you claim to be if you want to permanently transform others’ perceptions of you.
According to an August 2011 Forbes Top Brands study, people are more interested in what a brand stands for than what it produces or offers.

This same concept applies to introductions: at heart, people are more curious about who you are rather than what you do. So clearly introduce yourself and promote who you are, what you stand for and what value you provide.

Of course, you must be able to live up to your "brand’s" promise; whether you present yourself as charismatic, confident, passionate, detail-oriented, or results-producing you must you portray what is true in any first introductions.

- Bill Leaver

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