October 6, 2022

How To Make Strong Impressions When You Introduce Yourself Virtually

Looking to introduce yourself effectively on Zoom? There are some simple steps you can take to make a great first impression. A little preparation and practice goes a long way. What you say (and how you say it) sets the tone for new relationships, whether introducing yourself to your team for the first time or others. Before you launch your next Zoom meeting, video conference or call, here are 5 important tips to remember when you introduce yourself virtually:

1. You’re more than, "Title, Company." Say so!

Don't sell yourself short (and be forgettable) by just stating name, position and employer. While you don’t need to unload your life story, adding a bit more color (tailored to the situation and audience) can enrich and inform the conversation to follow. Consider the impact of the following introduction examples:

  • Hi, I’m Jessica Smith, President of XYZ Corporation.
  • Hi, I’m Jessica Smith, President of XYZ Corporation, a B2B marketing agency that helps accounting firms grow their business.
  • Hi, I’m Jessica Smith, one of the rare few CPAs in B2B marketing. I run XYZ Corporation, an agency that helps accounting firms increase brand awareness and revenue.

Remember, you control what people first learn about you. By extension, you define the takeaway message they'll use to introduce you to others. Even if you work for a company that's a household name, sharing a bit about your division, department, geographic oversight, specialization etc. is far more helpful than name/company alone.

2.  Be brief when you introduce yourself virtually...

Before logging on to your next WebEx or Zoom meeting, determine the core message you want to communicate. Then practice, developing versions that vary in length and focus (like above). Rehearsing out loud is critical! Hearing yourself is better because we self-edit when thinking to ourselves. You can also catch where you're prone to stumbling or rambling and clean it up.

Practice until you’re comfortable introducing yourself virtually to any audience. The goal is to look and sound confident and comfortable, not stiff and scripted. Remember, too, that shorter phrasing and responses make a stronger impact over video.

Further improve your game by paying attention to how others introduce themselves (especially those whom you respect and admire). It helps tease out what sounds good and what you should avoid saying.

3. ... but don’t sell yourself short.

Yes, brevity is key, but don’t overdo it and say too little. When you withhold sharing what you want someone to know about you, you surrender the power to explain yourself and instead rely on what someone else chooses to ask. Consider how you’d like to be known and what your goals are. An introduction is a valuable opportunity to set the tone and define who you are or want to be -- don’t waste it!

4. Yes, body language still matters.

What you say is important, but so is how you say it. Body language and speech shape how your message is heard, even via a screen. Are you a fast talker? Make a conscious effort to slow down when on video so that people can understand -- and hopefully retain -- what you’re saying. Making eye contact, even through a computer, also impacts how your message is received. Look directly at the camera because it helps viewers feel more like you're making eye contact with them, and that's important for building connection.

When others have the virtual floor, smile and/or nod -- this conveys active listening and positive engagement. Remove visual distractions (turn phones face down and turn off email notifications) because they can easily throw off eye contact and (unintentionally) imply that you’re disinterested or not paying attention. Be mindful of facial expressions, hand gestures and nervous habits too because they're much more noticeable on camera than in-person.

5. Get to know new contacts before asking for something.

Is your company expanding services or entering new markets? Are you interested in taking on a bigger role? Are you looking for a board seat, new job or speaking opportunities? Depending what your goals are, your network can be a huge source of help… but only after you take the time to get to know people.

Effective networking is all about building relationships, so when you meet someone new, take time to get to know them too. Then, you can steer conversation to discuss mutual interests. A personable two-way introduction can naturally evolve into conversation and pave the way to future interactions. In contrast, a “bait and switch” intro, i.e., one that flips immediately to a sales pitch, will likely be the first and final conversation. It’s off-putting to pitch or lead with the intent to gain or sell something.

This doesn’t mean that you can’t ever talk in detail about what you do, discuss who you’re looking to meet or ask for help from new contacts. The key is putting in the time to get to know them first, including what their needs are and how you can potentially help them. This ensures that any future requests you make are sincere and appropriate.

Knowing how to introduce yourself virtually is critical.

Don’t miss the opportunity to make a great first impression via the camera lens! Consider your introduction as a conversation starter, not an elevator pitch. Then, with confidence and precision, share key information to spark further connection and drive new business relationships forward.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published on August 11, 2020 and updated on October 6, 2022.


Related Resources

Continue to make strong impressions with these related resources!

Make Better Impressions Through Your Body Language 

The Best Ways To Introduce Yourself To A New Team Remotely 

10 Phrases That Sabotage Communication 

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