I’ve mentioned it before and I’ll say it again: I am not the kind of person who can just walk up to someone and say, “hi, I’m Sagan and I’m a freelance editor / writer.”
It just feels so contrived! When it comes to networking effectively at events, unless someone asks you point-blank who you are and what you do, it can feel a little sales-y to introduce yourself that way.
With that in mind, here are a few different ways that I’ve taken to introducing myself to people (especially when it’s a casual event or if we’ve already been chatting for a couple minutes and it’s about time we tell each other our names):
- Just tell them your name. “I’m sorry, I didn’t catch your name. What was it? Oh, nice to meet you! I’m ____.” And that’s that. I might ask them what their job is depending on the situation, but I feel it’s much more natural to not just jump out and shout from the rooftops what I do.
- Mention why you’re at the event. “I’ve been involved with this group for a few years,” “I’m a volunteer here,” “I’m technically here for work but I’m really excited about this event because XYZ.” You get the idea. Here you’re saying your name and giving the other person a little tidbit about yourself that they can follow up on if they so choose—or it can give them the opportunity to share what their connection to the event is.
- Offer something a little quirky to remember you by. You have to be careful with this one and do it on a person-by-person basis, but when done right, it can be an effective way to catch someone’s attention or make them laugh. This involves describing who you are and what you do instead of telling them, or joking about the reason why you are at the event, and so on.
- Ask someone else to introduce you. There are two benefits to this: first, it takes the pressure off you from feeling like you are being too sales-y, and second, it gives you a unique insight to find out how someone else would describe who you are and what you do. And that’s always useful! Sometimes it can provide you with a new perspective on how to explain in an easy-to-understand way who you are and what you do. Just make sure the person you ask to introduce you is someone who you actually know, obviously.
- Go into the event with an idea of one single facet of yourself to introduce. This is one of my biggest challenges when people ask me who I am / what I do / why I’m at the event. I feel like there are always so many possible answers! But you don’t want to overload someone you just met with a ton of information. Instead, go into the event with a single tidbit about yourself. For example, I might choose to introduce myself as a professional lifestyle blogger if someone asked me what I do—or I could explain that I’m a freelance writer / editor. Or I could say that I manage social media for clients. But the key is to only use once facet of your job (unless your work is something that really can be distilled into one item, in which case, kudos!). Think about what would be most interesting and relevant to the people at this particular event, and provide them with that piece. You can add more later if they ask you more about yourself (which they probably will, if you give them the most important bit of information they need to know right away).