Remember your first day of English class?
On that long-ago day when you had your first English lesson, the very first thing you learned was how to introduce yourself.
“My name is Amy,” you would say. “What’s your name?”
In the classroom or at home, practicing this kind of introduction is very easy.
But there are some things we just don’t learn from formal English lessons.
Unfortunately, as adults in the real world, introductions in English can be terrifying.
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 do something that makes them hate us or think we’re silly instead.
Today, I’m going to go over all the English you need to meet someone new.
You can finally stop being nervous about meeting new people, because you’ll have the best introduction expressions ready to use.
You’ll be able to introduce yourself with confidence and move on to full English conversations.
Doesn’t that sound awesome?
How to Fearlessly and Confidently Introduce Yourself in English in 6 Simple Steps
1. 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.
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.”
Aside from asking questions, another good 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:
Excuse me, do you know what time it is?
Sorry to bother you, but where is the meeting?
Excuse me, are you going to the restaurant?
Pick a topic that is happening currently, and that you actually want or need information about.
Another great ice breaker is a compliment. Find something you like about them and tell them.
Be a little careful here when picking an object to compliment. Don’t compliment them as a whole person, because 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. Ask Follow-up Questions
You need to keep the conversation going.
To do this, have more simple questions ready. Like before, have three or four questions memorized.
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.
How are you?
Where are you from?
What are you doing here? or What brings you here?
Are you having a good time?
3. Listen and Ask More Questions
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!
4. Prepare Basic Answers about Yourself
Conversation isn’t always about asking questions.
Eventually, the people you’re talking to are going to ask you the same questions that you’re asking them. Because of this, it’s very important that you can answer these questions easily. Keep your answers short and simple so you have less time to make mistakes.
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?
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, 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 introductions.
Enjoy your time speaking English!
And One More Thing…
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