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20 Creative Ways to Introduce Yourself

20 Creative Ways to Introduce Yourself

Throughout our lifetime, we introduce ourselves to hundreds of new people everywhere we go. Every time we strike up a conversation with a stranger sitting next to us on the train, duck into a gas station to ask for directions or step up to the checkout counter, we’re constantly coming up with new, creative ways to introduce ourselves in line with the circumstances.

And we hardly ever realize we’re doing it.

Whether it’s a formal meeting or a more laid back meet up, introductions are sometimes tricky. Especially if you want to make a good first impression either way. Here are 20 creative ways to show someone who you are within the first precious moments of meeting them (where you use them, of course, is completely up to you).

1. “I’m shy, please come say hi.”

Grab a name tag and write, “I’m shy, please come say hi” in the blank space. It’s the truth, right?

2. A name is worth a thousand conversations

Do you have a name that’s unique, or a name that can be spelled 10 different ways? It’s okay to spell it out, tell of its origin or give a short but sweet lesson in pronunciation.

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3. Highlight something that makes you unique

“I grew up in New York, but I’m originally from Russia.” That’s quite an icebreaker! It gives you both something to talk about, something they’re at least mildly intrigued by.

4. Start with a pop culture reference

Relate your name back to a character or figure everyone knows. “Hey, my name’s Ross. You know, like the guy from FRIENDS.”

5. Confess your nickname

If you want to be called something other than your name, follow up with that. They just might respond with, “Oh, I have a cousin who goes by that.”

6. Let the way you dress reflect who you are

Dressing style reflects individuality. For example, I know a Chinese girl who deliberately dresses in green to match with her Chinese name “happy to be natural.” Everyone can thus instantly remember her. Hence, the way you dress can actually become a topic of conversation and help others remember you.

7. Make a T-shirt

On the front: “On the back of this shirt is everything you need to know about me.” The rest is self-explanatory.

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8. Make a “business” card

Keep something with you to give away to new people you meet. Instead of your name and contact information, list random facts about yourself, your interests, your hobbies. If nothing else, you’ll be the most memorable person in the room for taking something old and boring and giving it new life.

9. Just start talking

It’s likely the person you’re introducing yourself to feels a little nervous and awkward as well. Dare to dive right into conversation and see where it goes. They might feel relieved you talked first and relax immediately.

10. Keep it relevant

Pay attention to your surroundings. There’s likely something happening around you that you can use to strike up a conversation without just walking up to a stranger with your hand outstretched for an unsolicited handshake.

11. Be honest

“I came up to you because I felt awkward just standing here not talking to anyone.” Chances are, they were feeling the same way before you approached them.

12. Search for common ground

Do a little digging while you’re saying hello. Small talk is only awkward until the two of you find something in common. “I’m studying English, I really love reading classics.” You never know, they might too.

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13. Always follow up with a question

Let them know you’re interested in getting to know them, too. You don’t want to come off as only wanting to talk about yourself.

14. Consider the situation

Draw from the reason you’re both in a specific place at the same time. Are you students? Working with the same company? Friends of friends? These are great conversation-starters.

15. Put someone else on the spot

Starting off with a compliment or a question allows you to initiate conversation and introduce yourself without being the first one to stand beneath the spotlight. It also shows you’re observant and curious.

16. Pick something in the room to “guard”

“Don’t mind me, I’m just guarding the mozzarella sticks. You can have one if you want.”

17. The mutual friend is the key

“I’ve known Jeremy since college, we took a lot of classes together.” This at least gives you an outlet to talk about yourself relative to someone else the other person knows from somewhere else. It makes you seem more familiar to them, and vice versa.

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18. Engage with your surroundings

Even if it’s only paying attention to something on T.V., what you’re doing can give someone a decent introduction to who you are and what interests you.

19. Help someone out

There’s more than one reason why keeping your phone in your pocket is a good idea. Someone approaching might need help opening a door or carrying something, and by assisting, you’re automatically introducing yourself as a Good Samaritan, instead of just another person playing Candy Crush.

20. Smile

Your face, particularly your eyes and your expression, is the first thing someone sees when they notice you for the first time. Give off an aura of happiness even if you’re uncomfortable. It draws people in.

What are you waiting for? Go ahead and introduce yourself in the comments. Don’t forget to be creative!

Featured photo credit: Garry Knight via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 15, 2021

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

7 Ways To Have More Confident Body Language

The popular idiomatic saying that “actions speak louder than words” has been around for centuries, but even to this day, most people struggle with at least one area of nonverbal communication. Consequently, many of us aspire to have more confident body language but don’t have the knowledge and tools necessary to change what are largely unconscious behaviors.

Given that others’ perceptions of our competence and confidence are predominantly influenced by what we do with our faces and bodies, it’s important to develop greater self-awareness and consciously practice better posture, stance, eye contact, facial expressions, hand movements, and other aspects of body language.

Posture

First things first: how is your posture? Let’s start with a quick self-assessment of your body.

  • Are your shoulders slumped over or rolled back in an upright posture?
  • When you stand up, do you evenly distribute your weight or lean excessively to one side?
  • Does your natural stance place your feet relatively shoulder-width apart or are your feet and legs close together in a closed-off position?
  • When you sit, does your lower back protrude out in a slumped position or maintain a straight, spine-friendly posture in your seat?

All of these are important considerations to make when evaluating and improving your posture and stance, which will lead to more confident body language over time. If you routinely struggle with maintaining good posture, consider buying a posture trainer/corrector, consulting a chiropractor or physical therapist, stretching daily, and strengthening both your core and back muscles.

Facial Expressions

Are you prone to any of the following in personal or professional settings?

  • Bruxism (tight, clenched jaw or grinding teeth)
  • Frowning and/or furrowing brows
  • Avoiding direct eye contact and/or staring at the ground

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then let’s start by examining various ways in which you can project confident body language through your facial expressions.

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1. Understand How Others Perceive Your Facial Expressions

A December 2020 study by UC Berkeley and Google researchers utilized a deep neural network to analyze facial expressions in six million YouTube clips representing people from over 140 countries. The study found that, despite socio-cultural differences, people around the world tended to use about 70% of the same facial expressions in response to different emotional stimuli and situations.[1]

The study’s researchers also published a fascinating interactive map to demonstrate how their machine learning technology assessed various facial expressions and determined subtle differences in emotional responses.

This study highlights the social importance of facial expressions because whether or not we’re consciously aware of them—by gazing into a mirror or your screen on a video conferencing platform—how we present our faces to others can have tremendous impacts on their perceptions of us, our confidence, and our emotional states. This awareness is the essential first step towards

2. Relax Your Face

New research on bruxism and facial tension found the stresses and anxieties of Covid-19 lockdowns led to considerable increases in orofacial pain, jaw-clenching, and teeth grinding, particularly among women.[2]

The National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research estimates that more than 10 million Americans alone have temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ syndrome), and facial tension can lead to other complications such as insomnia, wrinkles, dry skin, and dark, puffy bags under your eyes.[3])

To avoid these unpleasant outcomes, start practicing progressive muscle relaxation techniques and taking breaks more frequently throughout the day to moderate facial tension.[4] You should also try out some biofeedback techniques to enhance your awareness of involuntary bodily processes like facial tension and achieve more confident body language as a result.[5]

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3. Improve Your Eye Contact

Did you know there’s an entire subfield of kinesic communication research dedicated to eye movements and behaviors called oculesics?[6] It refers to various communication behaviors including direct eye contact, averting one’s gaze, pupil dilation/constriction, and even frequency of blinking. All of these qualities can shape how other people perceive you, which means that eye contact is yet another area of nonverbal body language that we should be more mindful of in social interactions.

The ideal type (direct/indirect) and duration of eye contact depends on a variety of factors, such as cultural setting, differences in power/authority/age between the parties involved, and communication context. Research has shown that differences in the effects of eye contact are particularly prominent when comparing East Asian and Western European/North American cultures.[7]

To improve your eye contact with others, strive to maintain consistent contact for at least 3 to 4 seconds at a time, consciously consider where you’re looking while listening to someone else, and practice eye contact as much as possible (as strange as this may seem in the beginning, it’s the best way to improve).

3. Smile More

There are many benefits to smiling and laughing, and when it comes to working on more confident body language, this is an area that should be fun, low-stakes, and relatively stress-free.

Smiling is associated with the “happiness chemical” dopamine and the mood-stabilizing hormone, serotonin. Many empirical studies have shown that smiling generally leads to positive outcomes for the person smiling, and further research has shown that smiling can influence listeners’ perceptions of our confidence and trustworthiness as well.

4. Hand Gestures

Similar to facial expressions and posture, what you do with your hands while speaking or listening in a conversation can significantly influence others’ perceptions of you in positive or negative ways.

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It’s undoubtedly challenging to consciously account for all of your nonverbal signals while simultaneously trying to stay engaged with the verbal part of the discussion, but putting in the effort to develop more bodily awareness now will make it much easier to unconsciously project more confident body language later on.

5. Enhance Your Handshake

In the article, “An Anthropology of the Handshake,” University of Copenhagen social anthropology professor Bjarke Oxlund assessed the future of handshaking in wake of the Covid-19 pandemic:[8]

“Handshakes not only vary in function and meaning but do so according to social context, situation and scale. . . a public discussion should ensue on the advantages and disadvantages of holding on to the tradition of shaking hands as the conventional gesture of greeting and leave-taking in a variety of circumstances.”

It’s too early to determine some of the ways in which Covid-19 has permanently changed our social norms and professional etiquette standards, but it’s reasonable to assume that handshaking may retain its importance in American society even after this pandemic. To practice more confident body language in the meantime, the video on the science of the perfect handshake below explains what you need to know.

6. Complement Your Verbals With Hand Gestures

As you know by now, confident communication involves so much more than simply smiling more or sounding like you know what you’re talking about. What you do with your hands can be particularly influential in how others perceive you, whether you’re fidgeting with an object, clenching your fists, hiding your hands in your pockets, or calmly gesturing to emphasize important points you’re discussing.

Social psychology researchers have found that “iconic gestures”—hand movements that appear to be meaningfully related to the speaker’s verbal content—can have profound impacts on listeners’ information retention. In other words, people are more likely to engage with you and remember more of what you said when you speak with complementary hand gestures instead of just your voice.[9]

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Further research on hand gestures has shown that even your choice of the left or right hand for gesturing can influence your ability to clearly convey information to listeners, which supports the notion that more confident body language is readily achievable through greater self-awareness and deliberate nonverbal actions.[10]

Final Takeaways

Developing better posture, enhancing your facial expressiveness, and practicing hand gestures can vastly improve your communication with other people. At first, it will be challenging to consciously practice nonverbal behaviors that many of us are accustomed to performing daily without thinking about them.

If you ever feel discouraged, however, remember that there’s no downside to consistently putting in just a little more time and effort to increase your bodily awareness. With the tips and strategies above, you’ll be well on your way to embracing more confident body language and amplifying others’ perceptions of you in no time.

More Tips on How to Develop a Confident Body Language

Featured photo credit: Maria Lupan via unsplash.com

Reference

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