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8 Tips for Effective Professional Introductions

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Author: Dr. Teresa Evans | Category: Career Development | May 13, 2015

The “From Hello to Success: Effective Professional Introductions,” was hosted by the Office of International Services (OIS) and led by Director of the Office of Career Development Dr. Teresa Evans. It provided trainees the opportunity to learn how to better prepare to introduce themselves and a forum for trainees to practice what they learned.

The key to a successful first impression can often be the initial 60 second introduction that one has. This introduction is different from the “elevator pitch” that is often discussed in that it is shorter and much more focused.

These types of quick introductions are needed when you attend networking events, such as a conference, as well as when you are a part of a smaller group setting, such as a committee meeting. 

These quick intros include your NAME, ROLE, DEPARTMENT, and LOCATION.

8 Tips For A Strong Introduction:

1. PREPARE: Know what you will say in advance. This requires a bit of thinking because the same things will not matter to different audiences. How you introduce yourself to a group at a scientific conference will differ with how you introduce yourself at an industry networking event.

2. PRACTICE: A short introduction might sound easy but often people stumble and fumble. So be sure to practice out loud, in front of a mirror, and avoid filler words (i.e. um, uh, like).

3. COMMUNICATE SELF-CONFIDENCE: This is key to convincing the audience that they can be confident in what you are saying. You can do this by speaking slowly and clearly enough to be heard and understood. Smiling is also important as it helps you to appear relaxed and sincere to your audience. It is also very important to make eye contact with the person or group you are communicating with. If you don’t have time to look at everyone in the group be sure to pick a few key people.

4. POSTURE: Stand up straight with your shoulders back, head up, and weight evenly distributed on both feet. You must command your space as this also helps with #3. If you are seated at a conference table for example, sit up straight and keep your hands on the table and feet firmly on the ground.

5. HAND SHAKE: I use the 2 Mississippi rule, when I shake hands I often say in my mind “1 Mississippi, 2 Mississippi.” This allows me to be sure to shake for the appropriate length of time. Additionally, this is a skill that also needs PRACTICE. You want to shake firmly and make eye contact while smiling. This skill must be honed with the help of a colleague so find a friend and get to shaking.

6. REMEMBER TO LISTEN and FOCUS: We can become so fixated on our own introduction that we forget to listen to our colleagues. It is essential that you listen to the other person’s introduction and repeat their name back to them or in your mind. Focus on the person you are introducing yourself to as this also shows your are confident and sincere.

7. BUSINESS CARDS (Part 1): If you do not have them, GET THEM! You can purchase business cards from our university print shop or a multitude of online sources. They are relatively inexpensive and to show you how important they truly are the first 3 people who comment on this blog below will get free business cards purchased by the Office of Career Development! The key to using cards properly is to give them when you are asked and ask permission to give them to others.

8. BUSINESS CARDS (Part 2): Find a routine that works for you. I keep my cards in my right pocket and put cards from others in my left. You do not want to get caught shuffling through cards to find one that is your own. Or worse yet give another person’s card out as your own.

If you follow these strategies you will be able to introduce yourself quickly and with confidence and clarity. Happy networking!

To view the slides, click here. To schedule a one-on-one meeting to discuss career planning topics with Dr. Teresa Evans, email her at (

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