One of the very first lessons that English language learners get is how to introduce yourself in English.
But do their lessons line up with what happens the real world?
When was the last time you went to a party, immediately walked up to someone, shook their hand and stated your name, job and hobbies?
Unfortunately, as adults in the real world, it can actually be terrifying to introduce yourself.
You may try very, very hard not to meet new people.
Why? Because we want strangers to like us, and we’re scared that we’re going to say something wrong that makes them hate us or think we’re silly instead.
Today, I’m going to go over all the English phrases you need to meet someone new and introduce yourself with total confidence.
You can finally stop being nervous about meeting new people, because you’ll have the best introduction expressions ready to use.
You’ll learn how to introduce yourself in English in a way that makes a great first impression.
Doesn’t that sound awesome?
How to Fearlessly and Confidently Introduce Yourself in English in 6 Simple Steps
Before we look at these expressions to introduce yourself in English, you may be wondering how you’ll ever practice or remember them all.
FluentU makes it easy by naturally teaching you common English words and phrases—from greetings and introductions to everything else—with entertaining videos. These are the videos that native speakers actually watch, like movie trailers, music videos, inspiring speeches and more.
Every video comes with built-in learning tools like interactive subtitles (click any word for an instant definition!), flashcards, fun quizzes and vocabulary lists. It’s a fun way to build your confidence for real-world conversations.
For example, check out this clip from “The X Factor,” where you’ll hear an American English speaker introduce himself and talk about himself with the competition judges. It’ll give you a great idea of how introductions work in real English conversations.
Watch that video (and the full FluentU library) with all the learning features by signing up for a free FluentU trial.
Plus, you can practice anytime, anywhere with the FluentU mobile apps for iOS and Android.
1. Remember These Phrases to Break the Ice
“Break the ice” is a common English expression. It means “to get comfortable with someone.”
There are many ways to start talking to someone new. I recommend that you memorize only two or three, so you don’t forget them.
Pick ones that you can use anywhere, anytime. Which ones sound most natural to you? The most important thing is that you’re comfortable saying them when you introduce yourself.
Here’s the easiest one: just say hello and your name. Then, if possible, shake hands.
Amy: Hello. I’m Amy.
(Offer your hand.)
Brian: Hello, I’m Brian.
Amy: Nice to meet you.
See? It’s that easy. You can also break the ice by using other common greetings like “good morning,” “good afternoon” and “good evening.”
After the first greeting, the best way to break the ice is to ask for very basic information. This gives you a reason for starting the conversation.
Here are some examples:
How are you?
Where are you from?
What are you doing here? or What brings you here?
Are you having a good time?
Another great ice breaker is a compliment. Find something you like about them and tell them.
Just be a little careful here when picking an object to compliment. A good rule of thumb is to avoid discussing permanent characteristics (e.g. someone’s physical appearance, accent, etc.), because it can really come off wrong. They might be offended or think it’s too forward (overly-friendly).
I love your dress.
You have a beautiful dog.
Is that your car? I really like it.
2. Prepare Basic Answers About Yourself
Prepare some basic answers about yourself now, so that you can introduce yourself with confidence and perfect English in the moment.
Keep your answers short and simple so you have less time to make mistakes—and less time to lose someone’s attention!
Have answers ready for these questions:
Where are you from?
What do you do?
What are you doing here?
Do you like your job?
How was your trip?
Are you having a good time?
What do you think of the weather?
What do you think of the movie/event/conference/restaurant?
Even when questions are specific, you can have a general response prepared. Say something generally positive, then add in more detail. Adding the detail keeps the conversation interesting. Then you can ask a question.
Brian: What do you think of restaurant?
Amy: It’s really nice. I especially liked the fish. Did you?
Brian: How do you find the conference?
Amy: It’s really interesting. I especially liked the first speaker. What did you think?
Brian: How was your trip?
Amy: It was mostly fine. I only had one layover. How was yours?
3. Ask Follow-up Questions to Spark a Conversation
Now you need to keep the conversation going. Part of introducing yourself is letting the person you’re talking to introduce himself/herself, too.
To do this, have more simple questions ready. Like before, have three or four questions memorized. These questions can be more general to spark a real conversation.
Questions are always better than comments, because they make the other person talk, and this gives you time so that you can think of new things to say.
Did you read the news about _____?
Have you seen [movie/TV show]?
Do you like this neighborhood/bar/city?
You can also use some of the questions that we discussed in section two.
4. Ask Even More Questions to Keep the Conversation Going
If you aren’t confident in your English skills, it’s much easier to listen to the other person than it is to speak.
Pay attention to the answers from your first questions and ask for more details. People like talking about themselves, so this won’t be a problem. Below are some sample conversations.
Amy: How are you?
Brian: A little tired.
Amy: Why is that?
Brian: I didn’t sleep well last night.
Amy: I’m sorry to hear that. What went wrong?
Brian: I’m a bit jet-lagged from my flight.
Amy: I bet. Where did you fly from?
Brian: I came from London last night.
Amy: That’s far! Was it a long flight?
Brian: Just a few hours. But I had a long layover in Frankfurt.
You can see how Amy keeps the conversation going each time by asking Brian for more information. When she does this, she also learns more about him.
Let’s look at another example:
Amy: Where are you from?
Brian: I’m from England.
Amy: Wow! That’s far! When did you arrive?
Brian: I flew in last night.
Amy: Was it a long flight?
Brian: Just a few hours. But I’m still feeling jet-lagged.
Amy: What’s the time difference?
We can see how this conversation is a little different, but the same questions still work.
When we meet people, we usually have similar conversations to introduce ourselves and get to know each other better. That’s why it’s important to practice these introductions and memorize some of these common questions.
Let’s look at one more example. Let’s say Amy and Brian are both at a business conference.
Amy: What are you doing here?
Brian: I’m here for the conference.
Amy: So am I. What company are you from?
Brian: I’m with the Sales team from Samsung.
Amy: That’s really interesting. Do you like it?
Brian: Most of the time, yes.
Amy: What do you like about it?
Brian: I get to travel to nice conferences like this!
When you’re traveling for business, asking what people do for work is always a safe bet. However, be careful to keep the conversation positive. Don’t say anything bad about their work in case they disagree with you!
5. Have an Exit Plan
Not all conversations are going to be good.
If you find you have nothing more to say or you’re not connecting with the person you’re talking with, you need a way to leave politely. Otherwise, there could be a lot of awkward silences. Here are a few key lines for leaving politely:
Excuse me, I need to [find my friend/go to a meeting]
Well, it’s been lovely talking to you.
Best of luck.
Nice to meet you, Brian.
I hate to run off, but I need to go.
Let me give you my card before I go.
Enjoy your time here!
As you say these phrases, hold out your hand for a handshake, making it clear that you’re ending the conversation.
6. Smile and Be Confident!
You’re your own biggest judge.
Most people will be happy that you came and talked to them. Even if you make a mistake when you introduce yourself, keep talking. People will remember your smile and your confidence more than any small errors.
Finally, practice saying these expressions a few times at home or with a friend so that when you meet someone new, you’ll be prepared.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to run. It’s been lovely talking to you about how to introduce yourself in English!
And One More Thing…
If you like learning real-world English, you’ll love FluentU. FluentU lets you learn English from popular talk shows, catchy music videos and funny commercials, as you can see here:
The FluentU app makes it really easy to watch English videos. There are captions that are interactive. That means you can tap on any word to see an image, definition, audio and useful examples.
For example, when you tap on the word “brought,” you see this:
Learn all the vocabulary in any video with quizzes. Swipe left or right to see more examples for the word you’re learning.
The best part? FluentU remembers the vocabulary that you’re learning. It recommends you examples and videos based on the words you’ve already learned. You have a truly personalized experience.
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