How many times have you introduced yourself to someone and after the initial exchange of names comes the unsurprising follow-up: “…and what do you do”? At the start of a holiday one year, I was immersed in the introduction thing with a fairly large group of people (with whom I was about to embark on several excursions/adventures) and this very scenario played out, over and over.
I began to wonder when someone might change the record and deviate from the norm – if it would be impolite to break the pattern and be more creative. Of course it’s a natural thing to be curious about and so it can be challenging to steer away from. Here’s the thing though, whatever it is we do for a living, it’s only one part of who were are and yet it’s the one thing we become obsessed by in that moment of introduction.
So why not break the rules? I sometimes use an exercise within a workshop setting where I’ll ask everyone to share something that no-one in the group knows about them. It’s amazing to hear the unusual (and impressive) facts that emerge, particularly between colleagues who have worked together for years and had no idea they were sitting next to someone who competed at the Commonwealth Games or speaks 6 languages or plays an array of musical instruments or is a Morris dancer!
I sometimes think polite societies pattern of conversation can be too restrictive when there is so much to learn about a person standing in front of you. Have a bit of fun. Think of something different to share about yourself and steer the conversation away from the usual stuff about work. Especially when you’re on holiday – isn’t that the very thing you’re trying to take a break from?
So, pleased to meet you I’m…nervously practicing two songs to sing at a friends wedding in May (wish me luck!).
What’s your new introduction going to be? Please share your thoughts in the box below.
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