Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa from SpeakEnglishWithVanessa.com. It's nice to meet you. Let's talk about it. Hi, I'm Vanessa. I live right around the corner. Oh, no, do you know how to respond to me? Is your heart beating a little fast? "What do I say?" Well, don't worry. In today's lesson, I'm going to be helping you master informal and formal introductions. So whether you need to speak with a neighbor, who you might meet while you're taking a walk, meet with a friend of a friend, meet somebody in the classroom, or with your boss or coworkers and speak in English, you will be gaining the skills and the confidence today to be able to have those introductions smoothly and naturally. To help you with this, I have created a special little gift for you. I made a PDF, which you can download in the description that includes all of the phrases and all of the ideas that I'm going to be talking about today in this lesson. I recommend clicking on that link in the description. It is a free PDF download. You can review the introductions, and then in your next introduction, you'll have no problem. Make sure you check that out. And let's get started with our lesson. Let's get started by talking about informal introductions. Take a look at this situation and then we'll talk about it. Oh, what a cute puppy. He's so fluffy. Hi, I'm Vanessa. I live over on Oak Street. I think I've seen you walking your dog before. Dan: You probably have, we walk here a lot. I'm Dan, and this is Charlie. Well, I've got to get home and get Charlie some water. It was nice meeting you. Vanessa: You, too. See you around. This is what I'd like to call an indirect introduction. Did you see that I didn't start by saying, "Hi, I'm Vanessa." Instead, I chose something else to start my conversation with. We call this an icebreaker. I said, "Oh, what a cute dog." Instead of just saying, "Hi, I'm Vanessa," I wanted a way to make the conversation more comfortable to begin. We can imagine a sheet of ice. It's very hard. It's difficult to break through, especially if you're trying to catch some fish underneath. So what do you need? You need some kind of pick or hammer to break the ice, and then you can reach the fish or whatever you want underneath. We can take this image into conversation and use that term that I just said, an ice breaker. When you are beginning a conversation, we often begin conversations by talking about something that we have in common with the other person. Usually, it's our situation. It might be the dog that I immediately see, maybe it's my child that my neighbor is commenting on, maybe it's the weather. It could be anything, but usually, it's your common area that you have around you. There are some informal introductions that are a little more direct. Let's take a look at this situation where I'm meeting a friend of a friend. If you go to a friend's house for a dinner party, whenever that happens again, and you see someone who you don't know, but you know that you have something in common already because you are at that friend's house. Can you guess what you have in common? That friend. You have one friend in common. So this is a great way to break the ice. You're trying to find something in common with the other person to begin your conversation. Let's take a look at this sample situation. Hi, I'm Vanessa. Dan: Hey, Vanessa. I'm Dan. Vanessa: How did you meet Sarah? Dan: Oh, I've known Sarah for a long time. Sarah's parents and my parents are longtime friends. We practically grew up together. What about you? Vanessa: Oh, we went to college together. Let's take a little break for a second. Sometimes the conversation will flow naturally if you both went to the same college together, or if you find a piece of information that you have in common, maybe you both have dogs, or you both lived in Spain for a while. Okay, great, but maybe the conversation doesn't flow very naturally. That's okay. The great thing that we can do is, like in our first situation, is to talk about the situation that you're in. This is a dinner party, maybe you're eating some delicious food. You can talk about the food. You both have something in common, which is the food and drink that you're sharing. Let's take a look at how that might go. I've never had goat cheese and honey before. This is pretty good. I'm Vanessa, by the way. Dan: Hey, Vanessa. I'm Dan. Yeah, the food is great. Sarah's family owns a restaurant, so they really know good food. Vanessa: Oh, that's interesting. How do you know Sarah's family? Did you notice that last question that I asked? "How do you know Sarah's family?" How could he respond to that? "Well, we met one day when I was walking down the beach and our dogs started to play together, and we just realized that we got along really well." Oh, this is so much information. Great, you can talk about the beach that he went to, the type of dog he has. This opens the conversation to a lot more. These are called open-ended questions. And this is the key to having a great conversation. I know we're just talking about introductions in this video, but if you want a little bonus piece of information, these questions are great ways to continue the conversation. Most of these are W questions, or we could think about them as WH, because our final one has an H, and then a W. Okay, maybe I stretched that a bit, but you can ask, "Who did you go with?" Who, what, where, when, why, how, these questions are great ways to continue the conversation. If you ask closed questions, usually, these are with the word did or do. "Do you like ice cream?" "Do you have a dog?" "Yes." "No." Those are the only answers. This kind of closes the conversation. And it doesn't mean these types of questions are forbidden, you can never ask these questions, but it's a good thing to keep in mind, when you're wanting to continue a conversation, especially in these kind of introductory situations, where maybe you don't know the other person well, you're feeling a little nervous, you're not sure what to say, keeping in mind, these question words can really help you to continue that. I would like to recommend this video that I made up here about how to have a conversation with anyone. We talk a little bit more in depth about continuing the conversation. Today, we're just talking about introductions, but those conversation tips will really help you as well. All right, let's move on to our formal introductions. If you need to use English in a professional situation, which could be in the classroom or in the workplace, let me help you. Let's start with in the classroom. When you're introducing yourself in the classroom, these are much different than the informal one-to-one interactions that we talked about before. When you're speaking with just one person, it's like a conversation. You can continue that more comfortably, but when you are doing a formal introduction, usually, you are standing up or maybe sitting down, but you are speaking to many people. This is much different than one-to-one. It is a one-to-many introduction, and it's kind of one way. You speak, no one asks you questions, and then you're done. You need to have one line that you've prepared in advance. If you're a student, you might say something like this. Dan: All right, we'll go around the room. Everyone, please introduce yourself, say your major, and where you are from. Vanessa: Hi, I'm Vanessa. I'm a biology major. And I'm from the United States. Nice to meet everyone. After these formal introductions, it's quite likely that at some point you will reintroduce yourself in an informal way to other students. When you work together in a one-on-one project, or maybe in a small group project, or you meet in the hallway, you'll probably say, "Oh, yeah, hey, you're Vanessa. I remember you." You have some kind of informal introduction again. It's great, even if you usually interact in formal situations, to practice those informal introductions as well. Let's see what might look like. Dan: Hi, you're Vanessa, right? From the USA? Vanessa: Yeah. Dan: I'm Dan. I'm a biology student, too. It's nice to meet you. Vanessa: Oh, it's nice to meet you too, Dan. I'm glad to meet another biology student. You're from Spain, right? Did you notice, again, that in these formal introductions, we are talking about something that we have in common with the people who are with us. We are all students, so you're telling them about your student life. You could say, "Hi, I'm Vanessa. I'm a biology major. And I have two cats." Okay, you could say something like that, but if you're not asked to give additional information about yourself, you can just stick with what you have in common. You're all students, so tell them what you're studying. This is a very common type of introduction. Let's take a look and see what this might look like in the workplace. When you are first introduced to your boss, this is a very important moment. They say, you don't have a second chance to make a first impression. A first impression is the immediate idea that someone has about you. So the first time you meet someone, they have an idea about you, and you can't undo that. You can't do that first reaction again. You can show them that maybe you're different than their first reaction, but that first reaction is very important, especially in a professional situation. Take a look at this formal introduction with your boss and see kind of the sentence structure and also the formality of it, and then we'll talk about it. Take a look. Hi, I'm Vanessa. I'm the new graphic designer. Dan: Hi, Vanessa. Welcome to the team. We're excited to have you here. I'm Dan. I'm going to be your supervisor, so if you have any questions, let me know. Come with me, let me introduce you to the team. Vanessa: All right, in this situation, you could probably imagine my heart might be pounding. I'm walking into my boss's office and I need to introduce myself for the first time. What did I say? I kept it short and simple. "Hi, I'm Vanessa. I'm going to be the new graphic designer." Short, simple, clear. In America, it's quite common to be direct and forward, to give eye contact, usually, to give a firm handshake in this situation as well. And it's considered very professional. It shows that you are comfortable with your job and with yourself, you are self-confident, or you are competent in your job. When you stand up straight and you look your boss in the eye and you give him a handshake or her a handshake, you are showing, "I was the right pick for this job. Thank you for hiring me. I'm going to do my best." You show that you are confident in your skills. Even if you feel quite nervous inside, that is the appearance that is expected in the workplace. When you are meeting your boss, you can keep it short and simple, but make sure that your posture, your eye contact, your hand, to shake his hand, is very confident, even if inside that might not be true. Great work practicing these introductions. Do you know what the next step is? You need to introduce yourself. And if you want to practice this, I recommend clicking on the link below this video to download the PDF for all of these introductions. I've created a PDF, especially for this lesson, because it is valuable and essential to introduce yourself correctly. Like we said, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression. Make sure that you practice this. You can download the PDF, review some of these introductions, make an introduction for yourself. You can write it in the comments below this video, and you can write it on that PDF sheet, or you can say it out loud, even better. Practice hearing your own voice, especially if you know in advance that you're going to be going to a dinner party. You might meet a neighbor who speaks English, or you need to go to the classroom and speak in English with your classmates or the workplace. You can prepare in advance for these types of situations. Make sure that you download that PDF. It is free. You can click on it in the description, and I hope that you will enjoy it and feel confident. Well, thank you so much for learning English with me. And I'll see you again next Friday for a new lesson here on my YouTube channel. Bye. The next step is to download my free e-book, 5 Steps to Becoming a Confident English Speaker. You'll learn what you need to do to speak confidently and fluently. Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for more free lessons.