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Clay Hebert (@clayhebert) is a storyteller, marketing provocateur, and founder of Crowdfunding Hacks. He joins us to explain a framework he developed called The Perfect Intro: How to Confidently Introduce Yourself, Your Business, or Anyone Else in Six Words or Less.
We meet new people all the time. One study says we meet three new people a day on average — that’s over a thousand in a year and more than 80,000 in a reasonably spanned lifetime. 80,000 opportunities to make a good first impression…but we rarely do.
When asked what we do by these new acquaintances, most of us have terrible, rambling, non-confident answers — and Clay Hebert of Crowdfunding Hacks confesses he once did, as well. He joins the show to tell us how he overcame this social deficit after making a particularly embarrassing first impression; enjoy the show and learn from Clay’s mistakes!
When you’re always networking (and you should always be networking — whether or not you choose to call it by that particular word), introductions are a pretty big deal. As discussed in our recent toolbox episode about perfecting your elevator pitch — that is, a brief and memorable introduction you could make to a fellow passenger in the time it takes to get from the lobby to the penthouse suite — preparation and practice are your biggest allies on this front.
Clay tells us about a memorably embarrassing self-introduction he unknowingly made to someone who turned out to be a personal hero — all because he didn’t have an elevator pitch or any introduction strategy of any kind on hand.
“It was back in about 2013. I was in San Diego at a conference put on by Jim Kwik called SuperheroYou. It was a really interesting conference; I was just attending — I wasn’t speaking — but there were other interesting attendees. And on one of the breaks, [Jim] said, ‘Hey, why don’t you turn around and introduce yourself to the person behind you?’ So I did. I turned around. [The person behind me] said, ‘Hey! What’s your name and what do you do?’ I introduced myself the way most of us introduce ourselves all the time — which is not in a prepared way. Not in a confident or interesting way.
“I sort of rambled on and on, and I realized…I almost saw myself as I was doing it. I think I covered where I grew up and my favorite flavor of ice cream and I just went on and on and on. I realized, as I was doing it, that it wasn’t very confident. So then I said, ‘So what’s your name? What do you do?’ He said, ‘Well, my name is Matt.’ I said, ‘Oh, that’s cool, Matt. What do you do?’ He said, ‘I run a little software company.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m into startups. I’m into software. What is it? Maybe I’ve heard of it.’ He said, ‘It’s called Automattic.’
“And in that moment, I sort of realized who I was talking to. It was Matt Mullenweg, the founder of Automattic and creator of WordPress, the software that powers about 30 percent of the Internet! Here I am, chatting up one of my Internet heroes. I sort of didn’t recognize him because his social profiles aren’t primarily his face and he kind of had longer, wet hair that day, so it didn’t jump out exactly who he was. And I felt sort of like Chris Farley in those old SNL skits where he slaps his forehead.”
Clay walked away from that interaction determined never to make such a poor introduction again. He experimented with various frameworks to improve his approach on a personal level, but began sharing what he developed with others during a presentation to a group of startups at the behest of entrepreneur Andy Ellwood.
Over the next couple of weeks, six of the twelve people emailed Clay to tell him how much of an impact his introduction framework had — and how it changed everything. This prompted Clay to polish and elaborate on the system at hand and make it what it is today — something to share with the rest of us.
Listen to this episode of The Art of Charm in its entirety to learn more about why you should aim for confidence and intrigue in your delivery over the desire to be complete and accurate, how giving a listener something short and sweet over long and rambling allows the other person to direct the conversation, how to include a story in the ensuing conversation that demonstrates your abilities in an interesting way, why we want to avoid easily tuned-out buzzwords in favor of the unique and descriptive, how to learn more about someone we’ve just met and adapt our introduction on the fly in a way that makes us more relatable (without overtailoring it into the realm of the disingenuous), how to make sure you’re introducing people you know by what they do now and not what they did 10 years ago (and vice versa), why it’s important to get the double opt-in when brokering an introduction, and lots more.
One final message from Clay: “I’d love to offer your listeners free digital copies of my book The Perfect Intro: How to Confidently Introduce Yourself, Your Business, or Anyone Else in Six Words or Less!” Find it here.
If you enjoyed this session with Clay Hebert, let him know by clicking on the link below and sending him a quick shout out at Twitter:
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