Lesson 3: Introducing Oneself


A group of businesspeople introducing themselves to each other at a table.

Name(s) of student(s):

Age and grade level:

Goal from IEP connected to lesson:

Objective from IEP connected to lesson:

Purpose of lesson: To demonstrate the student’s ability to introduce themself and start a conversation with common topics.

Materials needed: Familiar and unfamiliar individuals to whom the student can introduce himself


“Last time you learned social skills involved in conversation. Today we will familiarize ourselves with introducing ourselves and conversation starting points. This is useful for beginning friendships, building rapport with your growing network, and coming across as friendly and approachable with coworkers or employers.”

Discussion: Starting a Conversation

“Keep in mind the following when initiating an introduction or conversation with an unfamiliar person:

  • Feeling a little nervous or uncomfortable meeting unfamiliar people is perfectly normal. Don’t let it stop you from making contact with others.
  • The other person will almost certainly be thankful you took the initiative to meet and get to know him. It will make him feel important.
  • Shaking hands is not the norm in a high school setting. However, when networking or making friends post-high-school, you will be considered polite and confident when you introduce yourself with a greeting, smile, and a firm handshake.
  • Speak confidently, with a positive, up-beat tone of voice.
  • Stand upright, facing the speaker.
  • Say “Hi” and ask for the other person’s name and try to use it in the conversation once or twice. It will help you remember the name and will foster closeness. After learning the other person’s name, offer your name.
  • Ask questions that encourage the other person to talk about himself. Almost everybody likes to talk about themselves.
  • Seek commonality. Create deeper conversations about similarities or commonalities you share.
  • Be an attentive, expressive listener. Recognize the other person is important and has a unique story.
  • Demonstrate genuine interest through eye contact, head nodding, and saying words of understanding such as “Oh,” “Wow,” “Oh no,” or “Uh-huh.”

Exercise: Introductions

Have the student practice introducing himself to you or another familiar person. After becoming accustomed to a well-composed introduction, the student should practice introducing himself and starting a conversation with an unfamiliar person.

Discussion: Asking Questions

Encourage the student to ask questions of the person he is meeting. The type of questions will differ depending on if the student is meeting a potential friend or if this is a work-related setting. Remind the student that the goals are understanding the other person and seeking common ground to spark genuine conversation over shared interests.

Brainstorm appropriate questions that help one get to know a potential friend. Examples include:

  • Discuss whatever you have in common; maybe it’s the location. Are you somewhere unique or interesting? Let’s say you’re at a music lounge. Some questions could be: What brings you here? Are you a big music fan, too? What kind of music do you like?
  • Where are you from?
  • What else do you enjoy?
  • Are you doing anything exciting this weekend?
  • Where do you go to school or what do you do for a living?

Brainstorm appropriate questions that help one get to know someone in a work-related setting, particularly a manager or higher-ranking individual. Examples include:

  • How was your weekend?
  • What project are you working on? How’s it going? Anything I can do to help?
  • Did you say your wife and kids are joining you? How old are your children?
  • Where are you from?
  • What school did you attend?


Sit in a public area with the student in order to listen to the conversations of those passing. After the speaker and listener leave the area, discuss the body language, genuine interest in the conversation, and topics of conversation.


“Today, we talked about introducing oneself to an unfamiliar person. With genuine interest in the other person, names should be exchanged, and common ground sought by asking and answering questions. Deeper conversation will likely result from similarities.”

Progress notes, data collection, comments, and modifications: