Does anyone struggle with meeting introductions?

Hi Elphas!

This is my first post here so first I would love to say thank you to everyone here. I am so happy to have found this platform and all of the wonderful contributions I have read over so far! I wanted to post with a personal development question.

I come from a non-traditional background in tech and am completely self taught. I created my first website years ago because I started a business and didn't have the capital to hire anyone. This was when I discovered my passion in design & marketing world. Since then I have worked as a freelancer for startups and small business owners doing everything from website design to creating marketing strategies and building branding identities.

Lately, I have been working on a project in the fintech space that I am very passionate about. I have found myself inside of meetings with brilliant executives and there is always the "introduction" part of the meeting where I freeze up. I can talk about product all day with confidence but the introduction is so hard for me. I know this is probably stemming from my insecurities and self-doubt about being self-taught - but it also has a lot to do with interacting with men, as I feel completly different in a room full of women. I am in my early 30's so while I have working experience to talk about, being in a room full of confident executives with decades of experience is so intimidating- while I know deep down this is exactly where I want and need to be.

Does anyone else have this issue and if so, what did you do to overcome it? I have heard about Toast Masters and looking forward to my first meeting tonight. If anyone has any other resources to share I am all ears.

Thank you for your time and look forward to meeting you all,

Brittany

MichaGoBig's profile thumbnail
I can relate. I used to feel the anxiety of introducing myself and always ended up sounding "unimportant" despite the fact that I knew my stuff as well as all the guys in the room. And it's an issue I encounter so often with friends and clients in tech as well. I'd love to gift you a half-hour of my time to workshop your intro. If you want to take me up on it, just book yourself a slot on my calendar: https://micha-goebig-availability.as.me/coachingexperienceAlso, what I find very helpful is speaking things out loud – for yourself first – into the mirror, maybe make an audio version of yourself with your confident intro that you listen to; then run it by a few business contacts you trust (not friends if you don't work with them because they know you differently) and then try it at low-stakes online networking events or meet-ups, just to gauge people's response and fine tune.
brittanyarcher's profile thumbnail
Micha-Thank you for this opportunity! I have just now booked with you. In the meantime- I will practice these tips you suggested. Thank you for your time 😃Looking forward to next week-Brittany
MichaGoBig's profile thumbnail
You're most welcome! I look forward to talking with you. To make best use of our time together, I suggest you come with your current introduction and we'll take it from there. Also, please remind me to record our session for you so you don't have to take a lot of notes. I keep forgetting to hit the record button. :)
dipishapatel's profile thumbnail
Hi @brittanyarcher - thank you for sharing and welcome to Elpha! Intros can seem intimidating when working with seniors so completely understandable and relatable! I would suggest jotting down a few notes before you present and just practicing with someone you feel comfortable to give you some pointers. You can also try recording yourself over video and seeing how you feel about it before you present. Public speaking can make anyone feel self-conscious in the beginning but with practice, it can feel more comforting 🤗
brittanyarcher's profile thumbnail
@dipishapatelThank you for the thoughtful response and your welcome to the community! I love the idea of recording over video for practice. This is a brilliant! 💡 I appreciate your insights and look forward to connecting more in the future 🎊Brittany
dipishapatel's profile thumbnail
No problem! Let me know how things go 😌
annamiller's profile thumbnail
Hi @brittanyarcher Thanks for sharing your experience on here. Intro's can be difficult if you're in a new environment, working with new people and especially when you're not used to introducing yourself frequently. To make intro's go smoother for you, create a short 30sec-1min narrative that briefly summaries your experiences and ties them into what you're doing right now. Intro's are a way to start a conversation, so they don't have to cover your whole work history. Hope this offers some helpful steps you can use!
brittanyarcher's profile thumbnail
Anna,Great advice - thank you for this! Great reminder that I don’t have to cover my whole history. That’s part of my issue I think where I feel the need to discuss everything.
rebeccabeck's profile thumbnail
Firstly, well done in noticing what's going on for you!There are lots of practical tips here which are great. I'd like to ask you what attachments are you making to the fact that others come from a different, perhaps more 'traditional', background? What value are you putting on that versus your own, and how true is that? Think about the richness and diversity you bring. Secondly, what assumptions might you be making about what others are thinking? Again, how true are these? And, if true, what do you want to do about that? Ie if someone else is really putting their own value above yours, what respect do you want to have for that unfounded opinion? There is possibly a little bit of what we call imposter syndrome. Things is a much over used term these days and often portrayed with a very fixed mindset ("I have Imposter syndrome"). However, some tools to help are to change your narrative from "this is what I can't bring" to "this is what I can bring", focus on your own special, individual and unique successes, and repeat a practice these until you change those neural pathways. It can also help to ask a few feedback questions of trusted contacts ( I have some if you'd like me to share them) which ffocus mostly (not entirely) on what you bring from an objective perspective - this can really help whenever you need to refer to it for an uplift!
LeeGarverick's profile thumbnail
After admiring the way others introduced themselves for a while, it occurred to me they had worked out their own intro at some point, vs making it up on the fly in the meeting!
brittanyarcher's profile thumbnail
Lee,That seems like the best way to conquer my issue! It seems so simple but the reassurance here I’ve gotten that practicing is so important means a lot!
lbynum's profile thumbnail
Something that helped me is just practice. I would often leave meetings after an introduction feeling like I left something important that conveyed my expertise out. The best practice for me was something I discovered in the book Brag Better by Meredith Fineman, she suggests writing out introductions for 3 different audiences (e.g. potential clients, executive elevator speech, etc.). Having something written and practicing it has helped me make sure I hit all the highlights when introducing myself.
rachelserwetz's profile thumbnail
Hi! I'd be very happy to help -- I have a unique 'professional summary' formula that is a concise way to own your story and introduce yourself, both in writing and/or in networking/meetings/interviews/etc. Let me know if you'd want to discuss! (I'm a career coach btw!) -- Free career coaching call here --> calendly.com/woken/demo
juliebock's profile thumbnail
Openers and intros are hard and such a normal thing to struggle with. You learned how to craft your narrative to earn those meetings. How would you intro yourself at a party? To a friend? At a small dinner? Those can be your talking points here too. i do best when I’ve practiced, and perhaps have bulletpoints or notes ready. Being self taught and from a non-traditional background is a strength — maybe that’s being coachable, crafty, self-starter, creative, or whatever feel right.In reality, many of their careers might have been non-traditional or bouncing around but they’ve figured out how to talk about it like it’s the “perfect” road to that seat. It’s a skill and you can learn it too! At the end of the day, they’re just people and if you don’t feel comfortable chatting with them they’re not the right fit to partner with. Best of luck!