Creative commentary plus crafty composition

By Way of Introduction

A prime component of beginning almost any formal, or unfamiliar, get-together is the introduction.

Whether it be meeting someone for the first time, or during a major ceremony, or at myriad occasions in-between, officious status or not, at or near the starting point is an introduction. Whatever the context, the happening takes on a focus of attention at such times.

Let’s face it, some people are better at self-introductions than others. Yet, in life, unless one lives in a bubble, sooner or later situations arise requiring them, meaning some mandatory effort is required.

Many of us have heard of ‘The Elevator Speech’. Certainly, anyone in a sales position knows having one in your back pocket can be worth gold, or at least helpful to career success. A personal intro via an ‘Elevator Speech’ can serve as a powerful way to help ensure a good first impression. Conversely, not being prepared may cause a dent in that impression, difficult to repair.

Often in Toastmasters we need to make or provide introductions. This is indicative of the two-pronged approach which underlies much of our meeting structure. We make speeches and evaluate others’ speeches. We take on support roles and are evaluated in those roles. We listen to others as they convey their thoughts at meetings, and have an opportunity to test our listening and recall skills. Therefore, it makes sense with that we get to practice introducing others, as well as constructing short, relevant summaries to be delivered to present ourselves. Being able to experience both sides of the equation is helpful to enhancing life skills.

Thus, there are different angles to effective introductions.

If we’re engaged in self-introduction, as in the ‘Elevator Speech’ context, we want to put our best foot forward, i.e. not in our mouth. We want to get an appropriately glossy, but tenable, message across which will stimulate a positive response so that the party or parties addressed will take interest in us, giving us a foot in the door (again, not in the mouth) to expanding our exchange. That said, there can be flavouring apropos to the circumstances: perhaps a little humour, especially to help break the ice, or perhaps a more sombre tenor if that is warranted.

If we’re engaged in introducing someone else, we want to treat other’s words with the decorum we would expect if the situation were reversed. Of course, again there may be a flavouring of more humour, or more seriousness, depending on the situation, and particularly contingent on how the one being introduced wants it.

The bottom line is that an introduction is a concise way of making one more familiar and relatable than was the case before the intro is delivered.

On a note of grammatical betterment, it’s also beneficial not to lean on expressions like ‘the bottom line’, ‘at the end of the day’, and so on. Such expressions are overused in everyday conversation – and since introductions are supposed to be short, we want to avoid pithy language that, dare I say, stands out like a sore thumb.

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