Have you ever found yourself in an incredibly awkward situation when you’re meeting someone for the very first time? It can be at a job interview, or on the first day of a new job, etc. It can be quite frustrating to not not know quite how to go about talking to new people.
That thought about wanting to make a good first impression on someone is something that runs through all our minds. Don’t worry, we’ve got you – read on, to learn how to introduce yourself in a formal and an informal group setting.
Differentiating between Formal & Informal Group Settings
Before diving into making introductions in formal and informal environments, let us first understand what the two types of settings mean. What is a formal setting? What is an informal setting? What is the difference between the two?
A formal group setting consists of things like meetings with your colleagues, or a conversation with a professor. In formal spheres, you must maintain certain boundaries, due to the nature of the relationships shared between the people in these settings.
Informal group settings, on the other hand, are more flexible – there are no rules, as such. They consist of situations where you interact with people like your family, your friends, or others with whom you don’t share a professional relationship. These are the people that you can have casual conversations with in your everyday life.
For example, a family dinner is considered an informal setting, but a lunch with a buyer for your company is considered a formal setting. A party you would host at your home for your friends would be an informal setting, whereas an office Christmas party is more of a formal setting.
While a party is considered to be something informal, we characterize formal and informal on the basis of the nature of the relationship we share with the people we are interacting with.
Recognising the kinds of settings
It is incredibly important to note that there are differences in the ways to introduce yourself in an informal and in a formal group setting. As mentioned earlier, it boils down to the nature of the relationship you will be sharing with the person to whom you’re introducing yourself.
For example, introducing yourself to your colleagues in a company where you’ve just been hired is considered a formal situation, since these are the people with whom you will share a professional relationship.
On the other hand, imagine you go to a friend’s birthday party and meet some new people there. Such would be an informal or casual situation, because the nature of those relationships will be casual and friendly.
Introducing Yourself in an Informal Group Setting
You must keep in mind that introducing yourself is not limited to merely telling someone your name. An introduction requires you to first greet a person, and then tell them who you are, which includes your name as well as a little bit of who you are.
Assume your name is Mary. Some common, easy-going phrases to introduce yourself as Mary include the following:
- “Hi. I’m Mary, and you?”
- “Hello. My name is Mary. How are you doing?”
- “Hi. My name is Mary. I’m from England, and you?”
Most introductions start formally, and depending on the responses of either party in the conversation, it can either continue formally, or diverge towards a path of informality.
Introducing yourself in an informal setting can be relatively freer than doing so in a formal situation, because we know that informal relationships have less rules than formal ones.
Introducing Yourself in a Formal Group Setting
Formal introductions are more structured than those in informal group settings. The difference is that the latter can be very casual and uninhibited, whereas formal introductions are slightly more restrictive.
In formal settings, it is often good to first ask, “May I introduce myself?” when addressing seniors, and then continue with telling them who you are. It is simply polite to do so more than anything else.
Here’s the key to a formal introduction of yourself:
- Salutation – Hi, Hello, Good morning, Good afternoon, or Good evening
- Your name – I’m Mary or My name is Mary
- Where you’re from – I’m from England or I’ve come from England
- Who you are – I’m a lawyer or I’m a social worker
- Details about who you are – I’m a junior partner at a law firm or I am a defence lawyer
And all of these pointers put together create this easy, formal introduction of Mary:
“Hi. My name is Mary, and I’m from England. I love my job as a lawyer, because it allows me to help people. I am a junior partner at a law firm and because of that, I have the necessary funds to do a lot of pro-bono work as well, so that I can help people who don’t have the money to get help anywhere else.”
The key to having yourself a captivating formal introduction is to show, rather than tell, when talking about who you are and what you like to do.
And psst! Here’s a hot tip:
A cool fact about yourself is always interesting to keep a listener’s attention.