Speechless – Tell Stories that Change the World

Soundbite 09: How to introduce yourself

January 15, 2024 Maryam Pasha & Simon Bucknall Season 1 Episode 13
Speechless – Tell Stories that Change the World
Soundbite 09: How to introduce yourself
Show Notes Transcript

“So, what do you do?” Cue: cringe or awkwardness as it turns into a showboating parade or a modesty competition. Tune in to this Speechless soundbite with Maryam Pasha and Simon Bucknall to pick up top tips for how to introduce yourself in a way that hits the right note. Recorded live at the English Speaking Union in London.

[00:00:00] Maryam Pasha: Welcome to Speechless Soundbite's practical storytelling tips in under five minutes. 

[00:00:05] Simon Bucknall: In this week's Speechless Soundbite, we share actionable tips for how to introduce yourself in meetings, conversations, or even an interview. What do you do? So often, a cringeworthy question to answer, or just plain difficult to land.

[00:00:20] Simon Bucknall: So if you're looking for a sharper intro, for a more authentic first impression, but with bite, check out this short, recorded live at the English Speaking Union with our guest [00:00:30] co host, Zain Hussain.

[00:00:36] Zain Hussain: When I was training to be a barrister I always thought when I was younger there's a particular way a barrister's sound does it. And for a very long time it was associated with a particular accent and stuff because there was a correlation between the people who made it to the bar being from a particular background.

[00:00:49] Zain Hussain: And it's just this cycle that kind of goes on and on. And a lot of people, they don't consider pursuing that path because they don't think they are supposed to be like them. They don't sound like them. They [00:01:00] speak amazingly. They just don't speak with that particular accent that's been perpetuated through so much media and then the existing state and many other things.

[00:01:08] Zain Hussain: Simon, there's one thing you mentioned that I kind of wanted to pick up on and you were talking about people and life experiences. Do you feel like people are underestimating their personal and unique life experiences more than ever 

[00:01:20] Simon Bucknall: before. Part of the challenge and the skill, I think, with drawing out the value of experience in a way that's relevant and meaningful for listeners is to, if you like, revisit those [00:01:30] experiences and to dig deep.

[00:01:30] Simon Bucknall: And that can be quite an emotive experience sometimes in a good way or in a really difficult way, uh, to revisit those experiences. It can be quite emotional to really dig into that. Um, But, but it does, but it does take conscious effort. It's like, you know, natural resources in the ground. You know, gold is not just lying around waiting to be picked up.

[00:01:47] Simon Bucknall: It has to be seriously dug for. Uh, and so it's the same with experience, I think, to find the value in it. Um, so I think I, I, I'm not sure, not sure that in the current climate, [00:02:00] uh, That there's been a change particularly in, in, in, in the main, in how people assess and value their experiences, um, yeah, more or less than, than, than in the past.

[00:02:11] Simon Bucknall: I don't think so. That's my view. Mary, what do you 

[00:02:13] Maryam Pasha: think? Yeah, I don't have an opinion on it, but I do have a question for you, because I'm curious to know how you do this, because I think there's something in here also about not wanting to be boastful. A lot of people say to me, I just, I just don't want to, I don't want to come across as like, you know, cause I say, you know, I think [00:02:30] I'll say to people, for example, I work a lot in climate and I'll say, look, it's important for people to know who is speaking.

[00:02:34] Maryam Pasha: Are you a lawyer? Are you an engineer? Are you a scientist? Are you an activist? Are you someone from an affected community? You can be multiple of those things, but. Or like, give me some, as a listener, give me some perspective on what you're talking about. And this was really acute for me. I remember this one coaching session.

[00:02:51] Maryam Pasha: Um, I was talking to someone for 45 minutes. It was an hour long, first coaching session, 45 minutes in before I found out that they had a Nobel prize.[00:03:00]

[00:03:02] Simon Bucknall: In what, secrecy? 

[00:03:05] Maryam Pasha: And I remember being like, look, I got to know this. Like, like if you're speaking to someone and your pitch, like it's really important for people to know that when we say you're a scientist, like it's a world renowned, recognized scientist. And I'm just curious to know when you come across that question from your clients of like.

[00:03:23] Maryam Pasha: I, let's see, I also like to learn things from Simon, um, I know how I do it, I [00:03:30] know how I do it, but how do you get them to feel comfortable about talking about their achievements or who they, who, or their perspective maybe?

[00:03:43] Simon Bucknall: I think it's, it's about separating you, yourself, the person from the value of your perspective or your angle. 

[00:03:52] Maryam Pasha: Same Hmm, say more. Oh, oh. 

[00:03:55] Simon Bucknall: Say. Yeah. Yeah. So, so I think, oh, if, if, if I say X, you know, [00:04:00] here's something I've done. This is me. And look at me. This is what I've done, and that, that's an achievement aligned to me and my personal identity.

[00:04:07] Simon Bucknall: Mm-Hmm. versus why do I feel strongly about topic X? Or what gives me what, what influences my view? On a or B. Well, because from experience of over there, I started separating out that experience and the same is true when people pitch their value is they think, Oh, well, if I'm going to pitch my value, it's me talking about and showing off.

[00:04:27] Simon Bucknall: No, it's not. It's about framing problems, [00:04:30] issues out there that you have identified or you can relate to for which you have experience that enables you to address them. So somehow in the head, I think it's that it's that Chinese wall between me, myself, you. And then the value, the perspective that I bring, and it's a separation, like a partition in terms of mindset that I think helps with that.

[00:04:54] Simon Bucknall: Yeah, that's the best answer I think I can give on it. That's super interesting, yeah. I remember years ago working for a politician who was very, very [00:05:00] sensitive, personally, with his immediate team. And yet, when he got stuff in the press that was hostile, and there'd be an angry letter from a constituent or whatever in the newspaper, and it didn't bother him.

[00:05:09] Simon Bucknall: It bothered me as his assistant. I said, look, this person's just written something, this is actually factually incorrect, this is not true, we've got to respond, we've got to, you've got to write back. He said, no, no, no, it'll just make things worse, it'll inflame things. I said, look, what's this about? Look, we've known each other long enough, you know as well as I do.

[00:05:24] Simon Bucknall: Member of Parliament that you're quite sensitive. You're quite your skin can be pretty thin and yet you are [00:05:30] like a rhino When it comes to this flag the response, they don't know me. They're attacking the office not the person Wow, that's really interesting that yeah, and attacking the office rather than the person and and I think it's similar there that that can be That's kind of what I'm driving at, I think, is a way to distinguish these things, because if you blur them, you're in 

[00:05:53] Maryam Pasha: trouble.

[00:05:54] Maryam Pasha: Right. I love that. I love that. Yeah. I mean, the only thing I would add is, I often ask people to think about their experiences [00:06:00] like a lens. So, like, you know, like, take all of your experience, your knowledge, your, you know, your perspective, your background, everything, and like, Like, you know, force it into like a lens and then look through that and tell me what you can uniquely see.

[00:06:14] Maryam Pasha: And so tell the audience those things and tell them why you can see those things so that it feels like you're not saying it for the sake of saying, I have a Nobel prize. You're saying the planet is heating and I know this because I spent 20 years [00:06:30] writing this report that won a Nobel prize, you know, like type thing.

[00:06:33] Maryam Pasha: Um, yeah. So I think it's that, but I really like that idea of the, the office versus the person, the, the kind of experience versus where you are now. I feel like it's really interesting. I've got my tidbit for the day. The 

[00:06:46] Zain Hussain: office versus the person. I think that's transferable to everyone in our lives. 

[00:06:50] Simon Bucknall: So to recap, here's how to introduce yourself using storytelling.

[00:06:54] Simon Bucknall: One, separate yourself from the value of your experience and perspective. [00:07:00] Two, pay close attention to the hat you wear. The job title hat is not the same as your person. Personal hat, design your ideal expert hat, and three, push your experiences through a lens and explain how they shape your outlook.

[00:07:18] Simon Bucknall: Thanks for listening to this speechless soundbite. Until next time, speak less, say more.