We borrowed this exercise from Patricia Fripp. Patricia is an award-winning speaker and speech coach. Recently she posted this challenge:
“How do you introduce yourself? I challenge you to craft a one-sentence description of yourself and your presentation that is difficult to forget.”
Whether you are a stand-up or a writer, we encourage you to tackle this assignment.
It is a great exercise for a number of reasons.
One, at one point or another you are going to be asked to provide a bio of yourself. It can be one of the hardest things to write, so having a prewritten one is a time saver.
Two, it forces you to focus in on what you want to be known as. Often, we wear many hats. We have our day jobs and our dream job. When we are asked to describe ourselves, the answer comes out wishy-washy, confusing, or just downright wrong. “I’m an architect but I also do comedy…oh yeah and I write, too.” By doing this exercise, you can come up with a crisp, clear intro that describes you and your work. If needed, do one for each of your different jobs. Then you’re ready for each and every situation.
Three, it gives you some control over how you want to be perceived. Leaving your introduction to someone else can be precarious. You never know what they will focus on. Recently a writer was interviewed. The interviewer relied on an article he read to introduce the writer. He honed in on one story and used that to base the introduction. The only problem, it was a story about another writer.
Fourth, it’s a way to set yourself apart. “Put your hands together for our next performer, Joe Shmoo” is an intro we’ve all heard numerous times. It’s not unique, it’s not descriptive, and it is pretty bland. Doing this exercise doesn’t guarantee that you won’t have that kind of intro but it helps to reduce the chances. So be prepared and prewrite your introduction that you can provide as needed.
Fifth, it serves as a reminder of what your comedy goal. A well thought out and descriptive sentence should sum up what you are aiming for in comedy. Use it as a reminder of what you are working towards.
We recommend that you accept this challenge from Patricia and come up with your own solid introduction. Be creative, honest, concise, and of course, have fun with it.
Join us in following Patricia Fripp on Twitter @pfripp.