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Giving a great self-introduction speech

By: Susan Dugdale | First published: 07-01-2010 | Last modified: 02-02-2019

A self-introduction speech is often called for at a first meeting of a group. It could be a work-based seminar, a break-out group at a conference, a hobby group, your new class at the start of the term ...The occasions are numerous.

Introducing yourself to fellow group members

The one thing these settings generally share is the need to make a bunch of strangers feel at ease - to quickly establish a sense of unity or belonging.

One of commonest ways to achieve that in a group setting where people are expected to work collaboratively together eg. a break-out group at a conference, is to have each person give a brief self-introduction speech.

That gives rise to a whole lot of questions.

The questions you ask yourself

Usually the leader will start and around the members of the group you go, one by one.

  • What do you say when it's your turn?
  • What's the purpose of this speech? What do you want it to achieve for you?
  • What will interest people?
  • What fits with the occasion?
  • What will the people listening expect to hear?
  • What tone do you use? Formal or Informal?
  • And more importantly, if you're anxious about public speaking, what will stop the fear of making a fool of yourself?

First impressions count -  so let's look at the elements that go together to make  ...

... a good self-introductory speech

Speech content areas

Here are six content areas to cover. The first three are essential. The remaining three elevate your speech from "basic" to interesting to listen to.

  1. Stating your name clearly

  2. Placing yourself - where you are from, the organization you belong to, the position you currently hold

  3. Background - what can you share that is related to the group's core purpose for meeting? Is it an event, experience, a particular skill or educational qualification?

  4. Interest, passion or goal - what genuinely interests you? What drives you?  Is there a personal goal you want to achieve within this group?

  5. Sharing personal details appropriate to the setting of your speech eg.  hobbies or pet peeves

  6. Unity - what do you share in common with someone else in the group?

Self preservation techniques for nervous speakers

Image - red warning sign: Text: Warning! Public speaking ahead.

If putting together a self introduction speech is sprung on you with very little warning use the few minutes you have before it is your turn to speak to organize your thoughts.

Ignore everyone else and focus on yourself

If you're inclined to be tongue-tied,  awkward and nervous, don't listen to what others are saying before you. 

I know that seems rude but the situation calls for self-preservation.

If you listen, you'll get mesmerized by their speeches and unable to plan anything useful for yourself which will heighten your anxiety.

Make some notes

Grab a piece of paper the moment the round-robin introduction is announced and start jotting down ideas.

Start with the first three items from the list above. That's the basic information - your name, where you are from and your background.  Then add more as time permits.

Everything you put down should be relevant to the occasion and your audience.  

Watch the timing

Generally the timing allowed for a self-introductory speech is between 1 - 2 minutes.

Going over that is poor form because it eats into the time allocated for everybody to speak. In addition rambling on without being mindful of the larger group could be interpreted as boring and/or egotistical.

Self-introduction speech sample

Here's a simple short self-introduction speech sample. You can use it as a model to prepare your own speech. All up there are 130 words which will take approximately a minute to say.

Hello sticker - My name is Masie Smith.

Hi everybody!

I'm Masie Smith, Senior Marketing Executive, from Watts and Frederick in Smalltown, Bigstate.

It's great to be finally here. I've been dreaming about the opportunity and possibilities of working collectively and directly with each other for a long time now. Jane and Sam can attest to that. There's been hours put in balancing the schedules to make it happen.

Webinars and email are fine but nothing beats face to face.

Working like this has always been a passion. Even in kindergarten I tried to set up a group-think session around a one swing and ten children problem.

Years later my master degree focused on harnessing group energy creatively. I've been inspired by agencies that got it right.

Sally you've already said it and I echo you. I'm excited!

Prepare and practice in readiness

If you know you have situations coming up that will call for a self introduction speech start generating one ahead of time.

Make yourself an adaptable template using the core elements listed above that you can use whatever the situation you are in.

Practicing your speech out loud will help you refine and hone your message.

It's worth doing as this speech can set the way in which others view you. That is, it can open doors, as well as close them!

With repetition you'll gain the confidence to speak for yourself concisely and cohesively and the temptation to succumb to a fit of the blithers will have vanished!

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