Many of us dread the self-introduction, be it in an online meeting or at the boardroom table, writes Andrea Wojnicki for Harvard Business Review. But there is a practical framework you can leverage to introduce yourself with confidence in any context, online or in-person – it’s called Present, Past and Future.


Start with a present-tense statement to introduce yourself: Hi, I’m Ashley and I’m a payroll manager engineer. My current focus is optimizing customer experience.

Of course, what you share will depend on the situation and on the audience. If you are not sure what to share, your name and job title is a great place to start. If there’s an opportunity to elaborate, you can also share other details such as a current project, your expertise, or your geographical location.


The second part of your introduction is past tense. This is where you can add two or three points that will provide people with relevant details about your background. It is also your opportunity to establish credibility. Consider your education and other credentials, past projects, employers and accomplishments.

My background is in computer science. Before joining this team, I worked with big data to identify insights for our clients in the health care industry.


The third and last part in this framework is future-oriented. This is your opportunity to demonstrate enthusiasm for what’s ahead. If you’re in a job interview, you could share your eagerness about opportunities at the firm. If you’re in a meeting, you could express interest in the meeting topic. If you’re kicking off a project with a new team, you could talk about how excited you are, or share your goals for the project: I’m honored to be here. This project is a significant opportunity for all of us.

The next time you’re in a meeting and someone says, “Let’s go around the table and introduce ourselves,” you know what to do. Take a slow, deep breath, and think “present, past, future.