Art of the Introduction
Tim Ferriss tells people he’s a drug dealer. Sam Jones of Formation Media tells people he buys dead magazines. My brother says he kills people for a living.
Life can be broken down into 30 second opportunities. What you do with those 30 seconds defines whether you’ll be successful or not. Some of those opportunities are converted into 5 minute opportunities. Others are converted into an opportunity of a lifetime. But most are squandered. What are you doing with your 30 second opportunities? Do you even know they are there?
Each time you meet someone, you’re presented with an opportunity because in business, people matter. People know people, buy your product, refer your product, invest in companies, buy companies, and work for companies. People are the lifeblood of commerce no matter how much we spend and rely on machines. Your challenge is to make the most of that 30 second opportunity – to say something memorable and to have an impact on the person you just met.
This is the art of the introduction.
Sam Jones understands the art of the introduction. Sam’s opening line goes something like this: “My name is Sam. I buy dead magazines.” Then he pauses. And smiles. You can’t help but want to hear what the next line is. Sam waits for a moment and lets the suspense build until you blurt out, “Excuse me, you do what?”
Checkmate. As soon as you do that, he’s got your attention. This master of the intro took less than 30 seconds to buy himself more time and create a defining moment that you’ll never forget. Your curious response just gave Sam the opportunity to capitalize on his opportunity.
“I buy dead magazines. I run a company called Formation Media. We think that the magazine industry is going through incredible change but that the Internet website experience doesn’t yet fulfill our magazine needs. People read magazines for a reason and it’s a combination of focused content and beautiful images. We set up Formation Media to bring that experience to the Internet.”
When you meet people, are you this interesting? Or do people respond to your introduction with blank stares and a general lack of interest? If you want to be more interesting, memorable, and influential then you need to master the art of the introduction. Do this, and people will flock to you. They will want to talk to you more. Your business will grow. Your social life will rock.
How to Master the Art of the Introduction
It’s time to think about your life from a whole new perspective. Don’t be afraid of a little shock and awe. There’s power in that. No matter what you do – and no matter how boring you might think it is – you can make it interesting. It just takes a little time and practice.
Think about what you do. Write it down on a piece of paper. Now bring it to life. Try to describe your job at least 20 different ways. Get creative and tap into the power of literary tricks like personification, metaphors, and irony. They’ll be your best friends when it comes to crafting the perfect introduction.
I’m a Decision Support Analyst. Nobody ever knows what that means, and rarely do they care to ask for more details. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to look foolish and ignorant. Most likely it’s because that doesn’t sound interesting and nobody wants to dig any deeper. So what do I tell people instead? Hi, my name is Mike. I clone intelligence.” Stop. Stare. Smile. Let’s look at how I got to that point.
My job responsibilities involve taking inventory of our firm’s intellectual capital. I build information systems by organizing abstract information like ideas and experience and merge that with tangible assets like documents. I try to take what our employees know and do and replicate it so that other people can access it. If Jeff has a good idea, I want to make sure everyone in the firm also has that good idea. Nancy might have 10 years less experience than Jeff, but I want to download everything Jeff knows into Nancy’s brain so that when she’s with a customer, she can think with 10 years of experience. I’m basically trying to clone what Jeff knows. I’m cloning intelligence.
Let’s look at another example. Earlier I told you my brother kills people for a living. This isn’t just shock and awe. He’s a professional gamer – meaning he gets paid (sponsored) to play video games. His specialty is Call of Duty, a famous first person shooter. Aaron could tell people that he plays video games for a living. That’s kind of interesting because it’s different, but it hardly inspires further conversation.
Jesus understood the art of the intro, too. “Hi, my name is Jesus. King of the Jews.” Every time Jesus said this, shock and awe took over. People moved to the edge of their seats. They had to hear more. They were dying to hear more. And he told them. This is how Jesus captivated crowds and engaged people in conversation.
Craft Your Pitch Now
Don’t wait to work on this. This is the single most important thing you can do to dramatically improve your business and social life. Crafting and perfecting your pitch will immediately result in more engaging conversations with important people and it will ensure you have a lasting impact on everyone you meet. Whether you’re preaching the Gospel, networking with investors, or speaking with customers – your pitch matters. You’ve got 30 seconds, what are you going to say?
- If you crafted a pitch for yourself, please share it in the comments section!