How to Introduce Yourself to Anyone: A Guest Post with A Drink With’s Hillary Sawchuk

Hillary Sawchuk knows how to introduce herself to anyone. The founder and host of A Drink With, she’s interviewed everyone from “Weird Al” Yankovic and Common to Steve Forbes and Richard Branson. In advance of Chicago Ideas Week, Sawchuk shares her tips for introducing yourself—to anyone.

Hillary Sawchuk regularly gets A Drink With everyone from Richard Branson to Weird Al.

Hillary Sawchuk regularly gets A Drink With everyone from Richard Branson to Weird Al.

You’re at a Chicago Ideas Week event, alone. It can be a little uncomfortable and intimidating at the start, even for the most confident and personable go-getters. So, props for attending. But now you have to make the most of your time.

Here’s the scenario at hand. You just grabbed a drink and you find yourself next to the celebrity guest or a well-known venture capitalist. You know you probably only have a couple minutes of their attention. Here’s how to seize to moment and start a relationship:

Save your elevator pitch for later.

Announce that you, “Quickly wanted to introduce yourself…” Often times the guest of the night is swarmed with people wanting to take a selfie or pitch their ideas. This let’s them know you simply wanted to say, “Hello.”

Talk about them.

Have a line ready to go about their work. Do you want to thank them for their philanthropic work in your community? Do you want to say you enjoyed their speech? Do you want to congratulate them on their success? Celebrities and people who seem like they have made it are still super proud of the work they’ve done and a simple, “Congratulations,” means a lot.

Three, two, one—now it’s time for your elevator pitch.

Have your personal elevator pitch ready. Share what you do. If they ask questions, awesome. If they seem overwhelmed at event, you’ve introduced yourself and now you have a reason to send an email after

Remember: Time is valuable.

Know when to move on. If the person doesn’t seem interested simply toast to their success again and say you’re off to mingle and would love to stay in touch. If you’ve connected, keep it going, but be respectful of their time.

Throughout it all, be yourself and stay genuine. Having a game plan for your conversation can provide some confidence, but don’t forget to listen. Ask follow up questions and let the conversation naturally unfold. If you’re lucky, it will go in a direction you weren’t expecting that will make a lasting impression!

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