A New Way to Introduce Yourself

September 19, 2011

A Personal Branding Exercise

In my history of facilitating workshops, at the first gathering, I design the process for “strangers to meet strangers” as an opportunity for true contact.  The goal is to come away from the exchange knowing something of core value about each individual. I often create a unique way for participants to introduce themselves with greater ease than the typical request from the facilitator to, “Go around the circle and tell us about yourself.” In my view, because of the slightly anxious moment generated by that request, a group of strangers responds by describing themselves in the general context of their family or job, both important, I agree, yet not really something about their uniqueness as an individual. This exercise can be helpful to individuals and groups of all kinds, so I thought I might share for those who will not have the opportunity to attend my workshop. I invite you to read on and find a new way for introducing yourself to a stranger or even a friend. Think of it as a personal branding exercise.  You can find a use for it in many domains of your life. First, let me share the details of the Positive Introduction Exercise.

In the first workshop of the Sustainable Happiness Workshop Series on November 5th, we are going to meet one another in the context of our strengths. The participants will complete a Positive Introduction Exercise before coming to the workshop. Even if you aren’t present at the workshop, you too could consider completing this exercise for your personal benefit and even share the idea with your friends and do it together. I completed this same exercise during my training in Positive Psychology, so I know it asks something of you that you’ve likely never done before. We are not used to focusing on our strengths and certainly not in our conversations with friends, and especially not with strangers.

I ask you to offer your Positive Introduction in the form of a concrete story. It reflects one or more of your highest strengths. Write it down. This story is about a concrete moment in time in your life that describes you at your very best and it has a beginning, middle and then ends with a bang!  You don’t necessarily need to name the strengths because they will be evident in the story you write. Make your Positive Introduction story one page or longer. The total length is up to you.

Then each participant shares their story. The group members (or a group of friends outside this workshop experience) listen for and then name the strengths they hear in each story.  In the sharing of these stories, you make true contact with one another. You meet one another in the context of something positive and inspiring.

A client of mine shared an application in his life related to job interviewing. When it’s a good interviewer, half way into the interview, you often get a question that has nothing to do with your skill level or work experience qualifications; rather, you get a question that calls forth information about your character. My client was asked, “How do you know you have the courage to do this job?”  He proceeded to tell the story from his Positive Introduction Exercise, which revealed his courage and bravery.

In his story, he told us of how he was asked to reveal information that would compromise the project he was working on but provide him a leg up in the company if he divulged this sensitive information. He refused and was actually demoted. Although he felt the injustice of this outcome, he felt proud of himself for having the courage to do what he believed was ethical professionally and personally.

As you can see, there are many applications in real life where an exercise like this might be useful to you:

Suppose you are meeting a person you’re attracted to and would possibly like to date.  They want to know more about you and vice versa. You’ve exchanged the typical surface information about yourselves and you’d like to try to make true contact by sharing something of core value to who you are as a person. You could give a short intro into the idea of this exercise and then agree to tell each other a story which reflects you at your best. If you are willing to share your story first, your possible future date 🙂 will likely be at ease when it’s their turn to share.

If you are in an intimate social group that meets regularly like the Friday Night Group I’ve been a part of for about 25 years, there’s always more to learn about even your closest friends. This exercise is a great idea for a similar gathering. You will be amazed at your own response to the experience of sharing your story. It actually feels good to honor yourself at your best in the presence of your close friends. It affirms your unique worth in this world. The response of your friends will also be very meaningful to you, trust me. In turn, your response to their stories will be of great value to them.

I hope you will take this idea and run with it!  Give yourself permission. You’ll be glad you did. Come to the Sustainable Happiness Workshop Series if you are drawn. This Positive Introduction Exercise is an experience that is not only a great way to get to know one another, but also a highly effective launch pad for the deeper exploration of your character strengths that will become the corner stone of the Sustainable Happiness Workshop Series. I hope you will join us.

PRE-REGISTRATION IS NECESSARY

WHERE: Fairville Village, 518 Kennett Pike, Chadds Ford, PA 19317 (in the beauty and comfort of Erin Bobo and Eric Webb’s MFR studio)

WHEN:  Introductory Workshop is Saturday, November 5th

TIME:     1:00-4:00 pm

FEE:        $65

EMAIL: 

PHONE: 302 888 2345

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