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When you introduce yourself in English, you need to consider the social context. Are you introducing yourself to one person or a group of people? Is the person you’re introducing yourself to around the same age as you, or significantly older? Is the person you’re introducing yourself to in a higher social position than you – like a CEO, or a doctor, or a professor? Where are you when you introduce yourself? Are you in a cafe, or a board room or at a conference? And why are you introducing yourself? What’s the purpose of your introduction? All of these factors determine how you can best introduce yourself. So in this podcast, I’ll teach you all the best phrases to use depending on context.

Alright, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Jay, and I’m one of the expert teachers here at E2 English. That’s how I introduce myself on this podcast and I think it works well. But introducing yourself can be awkward if you don’t know the right type of introduction to use because – as I mentioned – there are heaps of different ways to introduce yourself. The right introduction depends on three factors:

  1. Who you’re speaking to
  2. Why you’re speaking 
  3. Where you’re speaking

This is what I mean by ‘context’. Context refers to ‘who you’re speaking to’ ‘why you’re speaking and ‘where you’re speaking.

If you understand the social context then you’ll be able to introduce yourself properly using the correct type of introduction. 

Now, there are informal, semi-formal and formal contexts. Let’s start with informal introductions in informal contexts. 

Let’s start with informal introductions. Here you are typically speaking to someone around the same age as you. This happens a lot outside of work in cafes or on the street. And the reason you’re introducing yourself is to be friendly and likeable.

Okay, so in informal contexts, we can introduce ourselves with great phrases like:


Hey / Hi, how’s it going? I’m ___.

Hey / Hi, how’s things? I’m ___.

Hey / Hi, how are you? I’m ___.

You try. Ready? Repeat after me – just remember to use your own name:

Hey / Hi, how’s it going? I’m ___.

Hey / Hi, how’s things? I’m ___.

Hey / Hi, how are you? I’m ___.

Now, you have to be careful with informal introductions. They really need to be used in informal contexts. If you introduce yourself informally in a semi-formal or formal context then it’s going to sound really weird. And you might want to pay attention to how younger people introduce themselves to each other in informal contexts where you live because it changes by country. In the United States, for example, people might say: Wassup? We don’t really say that here in Australia. We tend to say: How’s it going? Or how are you going? But this is very Aussie and I’m sure Americans and Canadians wouldn’t use it.

Now, if you’re a male and you’re introducing yourself to another male in an informal context you might want to use a synonym for ‘friend’ such as:

Hey man.

Hey bro’.

Hey buddy.

Hey mate.

Hey dude.

Again, this is location dependent. In Australia we often say “Hey mate” but I don’t think they say that in the States or Canada, so listen carefully to what the locals say and mimic that. And as for women introducing themselves to other women, or with men and women, I’ve noticed that they don’t say ‘man’, ‘bro’ or ‘sister’, or ‘buddy’ or ‘mate’, they just say “hi!” or “hey”.

Informal introductions are fun, and if you practice them they will feel completely natural. Now let’s talk about ‘semi formal’ introductions. 

With semi-formal introductions, you’re probably going to be at work or in a workplace and you’ll be speaking to someone on the same social level as you. Here, you’re being a little more polite and respectful. But you’re not subordinating yourself – you’re not below the other person. You’re connecting with them respectfully.

So the next time you’re speaking to a colleague or your doctor, or a police officer, or a teacher or professor you might use some of these phrases:

Hi, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m ___.

Hi, I’m ___. How are you?

Nice to meet you. I’m ___.

You’re ___, right? I’m ___. Nice to meet you.

Ready? Repeat after me inserting your name. Imagine you’re at work speaking to a new colleague and you want to be polite and respectful. 

Hi, I don’t think we’ve met. I’m ___.

Hi, I’m ___. How are you?

Nice to meet you. I’m ___.

You’re ___, right? I’m ___. Nice to meet you.

Alright, now let’s talk about formal introductions. And we’re really talking about two contexts. The first is when you introduce yourself to someone who is a lot older than you – an elderly person – and the second is when you’re public speaking.

Let’s talk about talking to elderly people first. You might use phrases like:

Hello, Sheldon. How are you today?

Good morning, Sheldon. How are you doing?

And if you need to introduce yourself, you’d do something similar. You’d say:

Hello. I’m ___. It’s really nice to meet you. What’s your name?

Alright… now let’s talk about how to introduce yourself when public speaking. Of course, when you’re public speaking you are typically speaking to a small or even large group of people. And you’re speaking to inform or educate or maybe even entertain. 

Introducing yourself is easy…

All you need to say is: “Hello everyone. I’m ___.”

This is such a simple, humble and powerful way to greet an audience. “Hello everyone”. It’s really nice because it includes everyone. And you’re speaking to every person – not a group. It’s kind of casual but also authoritative at the same time.

Alright, in today’s podcast, we learned how to introduce ourselves in three different contexts – informal, semi-formal and formal. So keep these in mind the next time you need to introduce yourself and remember to practice your English with E2 by going to www.e2english.com for great online courses to improve your grammar, vocabulary and pronunciation. 

In case you haven’t seen our video on this topic:

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