3 Things to Avoid when Introducing Yourself at a Social Gathering

Introducing yourself is usually the first thing you learn to do in English, but it can remain a difficult task, even for high-level learners since it involves so much more than simply using correct grammar.

Here are 3 mistakes I often hear when my students are introducing themselves in the context of socialising that you should avoid.

1. Sounding Too Formal

“Good evening. My name is Carlos. How do you do?”

This is fine if Carlos has been invited to the Ambassador’s reception, but it does not sound appropriate for his school trip to the pub.

“Hi, I’m Carlos. Nice to meet you.”

The use of informal expressions and contracted forms sounds much better here.

2. Sounding Bored

Three Things To Avoid When Introducing Yourself At A Social Gathering - Version Two

If Miki says this in a flat voice, she might seem bored or tired. A person’s intonation gives us clues about their attitude and emotions and English has a particularly broad pitch range: practising the rising and falling in the pitch of your voice is vital to sounding natural when interacting with others.

Three Things To Avoid When Introducing Yourself At A Social Gathering - Version One

This sounds much better Miki.

3. No Follow-Up Questions

“Hi, I’m Carlos. Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Miki.”


(More silence)



If you want to engage in a more meaningful exchange than this, you will need to ask follow-up questions to keep the conversation going. Here are some example questions:

  • Where are you from?
  • What brings you here?
  • What do you do?
  • How long have you been (in London / living here / studying English etc.)?
  • Are you enjoying (the party / trip etc.)?
  • What / How about you?
  • And you?

You could also use statements with question tags to move the conversation along:

  • It’s chilly today, isn’t it?
  • The music’s great, isn’t it?
  • The film was really funny, wasn’t it?

So, let’s see if Carlos and Miki can finally have a successful first meeting:

“Hi, I’m Carlos. Nice to meet you.”

“Nice to meet you. I’m Miki.”

“Where are you from?”

“I’m from Japan. And you?”


“Nice. Is this your first time in London?”

“No, I came here about five years ago on a business trip.”

“What do you do?”

“I work in renewable energy.”

“Interesting. What about you?”

Well, it sounds like they are definitely on the right track. They are keeping the conversation going with questions that show they are interested and listening to each other.

If you are going to attend a social event and you are worried about introducing yourself in English, I recommend scripting a conversation you might have (or use the one above) and practising it until you feel more confident. Good luck!


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