How do you say your name? Most people answer this question by saying, “I don’t know, I just say my name.”
Your name is the single most important element you present in selling yourself and your product. It’s the first step in personal development. Your name is who you are. Doesn’t it follow that you would want to say it in a manner that makes a statement about who you are? It is the most important thing you’ll ever say about yourself—anything you want people to know about you can be included in those two or three words. When you say your name, it’s your “first impression” chance to impact a situation, to let your presence be known, especially in business communications.
As an actor, I learned long ago that I couldn’t just read the words of a script and expect to get a standing ovation. I had to cause people to feel something, to have an experience. It’s the same for you in business and the first exchange of words.
Remember the last time you participated in a group introduction, when each member of the group introduced her/himself, one after another? Do you remember how people “presented” their names? Odds are, you experienced one or more of the following missteps.
People say their name:
> As if it’s part of a list: “Hello-I’m-Bob-Smith-Director-of-Marketing-and-I’m-really-glad-to-be-here…”. Are you part of a list? Of course not! So be sure your name stands alone. This requires that you take your time; I call this “owning the stage” If you don’t take your time and make a statement with your name you’ve missed a great first impression.
> Hurriedly, as something to get out of the way so one can get off the spot. This is a corollary to the above “listing” phenomenon. Don’t shortchange yourself! Again, it’s time to take center stage.
> As a question: “Hello? I’m Terry Stanley?” Are you sure? Make a statement with your name, don’t ask it as a question. The “period” in your statement indicates “I know who I am – and so should you!”
> Apologetically or very quietly, as though you didn’t have the right to be there. If your self-esteem needs work, do it in private. Don’t act out your self-doubts in front of the room! Act “as if” you had the confidence and esteem – people will begin to respond to you in a whole different way, one of greater respect and admiration. Start with your name.
> Without animation or enthusiasm: If you aren’t excited about you and your business, who is? If you are excited you must animate your face and body to match – otherwise your audience won’t know it. You must have the feeling and express it – starting with your name.
> Carelessly, throwing it away. Saying your name as you walk to the podium, etc. just throwing the name away, or mumbling it. Discounting your importance before you’ve said a word.
> Without eye contact: If you’re not looking at them I guarantee that they are “seeing you not seeing” them – and, hence, not making a connection. When saying your name you must make solid eye contact with those you’re meeting. In a larger group you can effect this by making good eye contact with just a few individuals; it’s usually not necessary (or even possible) to meet the eyes of everyone in the room.
Become aware of these subtle yet powerful tools you have for letting the world know who you are.