Knowing how to do great self-introductions in English is really useful when you move to a new place, like I just did! It’s also good to know how to introduce yourself for job interviews, for networking, and for social events when you are making new friends.
You never know when you might need to introduce yourself, so during this lesson, I’m going to ask you to do a little homework assignment, so you can be prepared!
3 Things You Need for Great Self-Introductions in English
First of all, of course we need a greeting!
“Hi, how’s it going?”
“What’s up?” (a little more casual)
If you want to be a little more formal, try:
In North American English, we don’t say, “Good day.” We also don’t ever use “good night” to greet someone. Instead, use “good night” to say goodbye, or when you’re going to sleep.
2. Say Your Name
Next, say your name when you’re introducing yourself. Your name is super-important, and I want to really encourage you to say your name clearly and slowly. Your name may not be familiar to North American English speakers.
A huge mistake that I hear international students or professionals making is saying their name so quickly that no one can catch it. They’re embarrassed to ask you to repeat yourself, so be sure to say your name very clearly.
If you say, “I am…,” it sounds very formal. Most English speakers will say, “I’m.” You can also say, “My name is…”, but this is also a little more formal. You could say this if you’re presenting to a group of people, or maybe you are in the audience and you want to ask a question.
“Hi, my name is Gabby, and I would like to ask a question about…”
If you’re on the telephone, you can say, “This is Gabby,” but only for the telephone.
3. Where You’re From
People love to know where you’re from. It’s one of the first questions they’ll ask you. You could say:
“I’m from Minneapolis.”
“I’m originally from Minneapolis, and now I’m living in Austin, Texas in the United States.”
If you’re talking to an international group of people, you might say your nationality.
Now, one I don’t really recommend is “I come from…” It’s okay, it’s not incorrect, but it sounds very unnatural. Instead, a phrase I like better is:
“I was born and raised in Minnesota, now I live in Texas.”
“I’ve been living in Austin, Texas for about six months.”
Okay, there you have it! The three components of a basic introduction.
A More Advanced Introduction
Next, we’re going to add three more parts for a more advanced self-introduction in English. First, let’s review.
1. Your basic greeting – “Hi.”
2. A name – “I’m Gabby.”
3. Where you’re from – “I’m from Minnesota.”
Actually, this sounds strange if we say these sentences separately. Let’s put them together so they flow more naturally:
“Hi, I’m Gabby from Minnesota.”
How you introduce yourself in English depends on your situation. Are you doing a self-introduction in English for professional reasons? If you’re introducing yourself for a more fun situation, you might want to add something about work, or your hobbies, or maybe a “fun fact.” Often, when teachers ask their students to introduce themselves, or when managers are asking new employees to introduce themselves, they will ask for a fun fact. We’ll talk about this more a little later. Sometimes it’s a little nerve-wracking, or it makes you very nervous, but I’m going to tell you exactly what to say in this situation.
Talking About Your Work Experience
For a great self-introduction in English, you could say,
“I work at Apple.”
‘I work at Starbucks.”
Or, you could include your position:
“I’m a manager at Apple.”
“I’m a manager at Starbucks.”
Job positions are countable nouns, so remember to use the article “a” (pronounce it like “uh”). If your profession or position starts with a vowel, remember to use the article “an.”
“I’m an engineer.”
If you forget the article and say, “I’m engineer,” that doesn’t sound good. We need that little article. If there’s only one of your position, you could say “the” instead of “a” if you really want to distinguish that you are the only manager at your place of work.
“I’m the manager at Starbucks.”
If you don’t want to be that specific, saying what you do and where you work, you could say:
“I work in marketing.”
“I work in education.”
That’s a little easier and totally fine! When you say it, you don’t need to stress the preposition “in.” It’s a very small word, but it’s there.
If you don’t have work experience, you can simply say what you’re studying.
“I’m studying marketing.”
“I’m about to get my degree in education.”
You could also say, “I’m graduating soon in education.”
“I’m graduating soon from a marketing program.”
“Right now, I’m studying courses online.”
If you want to talk about your experience a bit, you could say:
“I have 20 years of experience teaching English.”
“I’ve been teaching English for 20 years.”
“I’ve been teaching English since…”
Talk About Your Family
Now, let’s talk about your family. You might talk more about your family in a social situation, but we can certainly talk about them in professional situations as well. This really depends on you, and your stage in life.
If you want to talk about the family you grew up in, you could say:
“I’m from a family of five.”
“I’m one of three siblings.”
If you don’t have brothers or sisters, you could say, “I’m an only child.”
If you want to talk about your immediate family, meaning yourself, your partner, and any children you have, you could say:
“We are a family of five.”
Instead of saying “I am married,” (which you can definitely say, there isn’t anything wrong with that), you could just mantion your partner during the conversation.
“My husband and I moved to Austin recently.”
“My partner and I came to this city in search of a better quality of life.”
One Thing Not to Include in Your Introduction
Now, one thing I really want to mention is that in North America, we do not include our age when we introduce ourselves. We also don’t ask anyone else how old they are.
What Do You Do For Fun?
Let’s talk about hobbies now, and I’m going to lump it in with fun facts! Sometimes, people will ask you what you do for fun. This could include your hobby, or anything else you do for fun. We don’t usually ask, “What is your hobby?” That’s textbook English. More naturally, we say:
“What do you do for fun?”
“What do you do in your spare time?”
or, “What do you do when you’re not working?”
“I enjoy traveling,”
“I enjoy mountain biking.”
Don’t say, for example, “I enjoy to mountain bike.” With “enjoy,” you can only say “I enjoy + verb with an -ing.”
You could also use “I like…” Like is a really safe way to talk about your hobbies. With “like,” you CAN use “to.” You can say:
“I like to mountain bike.”
“I like to travel.”
You can also say:
“I like traveling.”
“I like mountain biking.”
There are other ways to say this, too. You can say, “I’m into” something.
“I’m really into mountain biking.”
“I’m interested in hiking.”
“I’m a fan of exploring cafes in Austin.”
Just don’t say, “My hobby is…” because this just sounds like textbook English. Try one of these other suggestions that I’ve given you.
Finally, for a fun fact you could say:
“Something you may not know about me is…”
“A fun fact about me is…”
Then include something like a unique experience you’ve had, or a weird like or dislike.
Self-Introductions in English – Put It All Together
Let’s put together an advanced self-introduction in English.
“Hi, I’m Gabby. I’m from Minnesota, but I’ve been living in Austin for six months. I work as an English teacher. My family is just me and my dog. I’m into mountain biking and hiking. Something you may not know about me is that I teach English every week to over 2 million English learners from around the world!
Now It’s Your Turn
Your homework now is to introduce yourself in English! Think of some ways you can talk about yourself so you’re ready when you meet someone new or you have to make a business presentation. Check out this post, 9 Tips for a Powerful Self-Introduction, if you’d like to see some sample conversations!
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I hope this post gives you lots of confidence to get out there and meet people! Bye for now.