How should a trainer introduce herself at the beginning of a course? Should she just give her name and company, or detail her experience? Do certain people and cultures expect to know what school she came from, her family name or her special interests?
For the training noted above, I prefer not to worry about those things and just let the participants decide. This reinforces key learning on how to adapt to your interlocutor whilst achieving your own objectives, the importance of asking the right questions and how to deal with questions. Read on to understand..
Consider the following exchange from my training this morning:
- DAN (after all trainees have introduced themselves): So, what do you want to know about me?
- Trainee 1: How old are you? Do you have kids?
- DAN: Just like that? No more detail than age and if I have kids?
- Trainee 1: Yeh, that’s fine.
- DAN: I’m 32 and I have 3 daughters. Is that OK?
- Trainees 1: Yes, thanks.
- Trainee 2: What is your experience?
- DAN: You want to know what presentations I’ve given or just my CV?
- Trainee 2: No, no, your experience as a presenter?
- DAN: I have given lots of presentations to lots of different public….. (DAN continues with a resume of different conferences he spoke at, 2 previous employee roles where he had to present to different internal audiences… full detail). Does that answer your question?
- Trainee 2: Yes, thank you!
- …and so on…
What you will see in the above exchange:
1. I don’t launch directly into a presentation of myself
What I want to achieve is a useful introduction of myself that gives them enough information to trust and believe in me and create rapport. (I “begin with the end in mind” Covey habit n°2)
I ask what they want to know in order to choose what I say. (Covey habit n°5: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood).
Having both of these things in mind, I can decide what to share.
This is the basic approach to creating an effective message (in presentations, commercial communication, consultancy…): Look for the common ground between your objective and the other’s situation, values and needs.
2. I reply to a closed question with a closed answer
Trainee number 1 asked me a question that could only be answered by “yes” or “no” as well as another very restricted question. I answer by “yes” and “no” and just giving my age. Being able to ask questions that will get your interlocutor speaking is key in presentations (to create interactivity), and in commercial communication and consultancy (to assess situation, values and needs). Although I am a little abrupt in my answer, he ought to understand that if he wants more, he should ask for it.
3. I check that I have understood the question well and that the answer if satisfactory
No trainer worth his pay-cheque misses this and since we will deal with that topic in presentation skills training, it’s a good start… if you have joined training today, check p32 of your workbook.
Voila: How I introduce myself in these 3 training modules.