Ah, introductions. Whether it's at a cocktail party, a board meeting, or a totally unrelated social event, introductions are the best time to show the whole world that you are the most important person in the room.
Oh, wait. That's actually the opposite of what they're for. Let's try this again.
Jeff Harden has a piece over at Inc about the difficulty of knowing exactly how to introduce yourself to new people. It's worth a read, not only for the great advice about networking and business etiquette, but also because it contains the best "Trading Places" reference we have seen in an article this year. (Louis Winthorpe III!)
The goal, Harden reminds us, is not to prove that you're The Man, but rather to prove that you're yourself. That's right: he's not even asking us to care about others before ourselves, but rather to care about ourselves before our titles. By doing so, we have a chance for genuine connection, not just with others, but with our own identity.
Of course, part of how you do this is by focusing on the other person.
"The other person is the only person that matters," he writes. "Ask questions. Actually listen to the answers. The best connections never come from speaking; the best connections always come from listening."
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