The Íñigo Montoya system: how to introduce yourself to make an impression
Four steps to get noticed. #Communication #PrincessBride
I have trained in communication for over twenty years . Most people want to become a great speaker, and that is wonderful. However, being a great speaker is not the most useful communication skill in your personal and professional development.
How many times a year do you deliver a great speech? One two? How many times in your whole life? While communication habits are one of the most relevant portable skills in business , there are many other instances in which knowing how to communicate is vital, and which are much more common: they happen almost every day.
One of the most common is the presentation , or the way we manage to introduce ourselves and connect with a person we just met. It is the first step of the elevator pitch and one of the best ways to create personal and business networks that become effective platforms for growth.
Sometimes we are already there , at the toast, or the congress or the meal where we specifically go to meet people. But at the crucial moment, we freeze and only talk to those we already know.
Do you want to know how to open a conversation with a person you don't know? So, I invite you to meet the great Íñigo Montoya.
THE ENGAGED PRINCESS
I have used Íñigo for years to help my students remember a simple structure on a first presentation.
Íñigo Montoya is a fictional character in one of the most successful films of recent decades: The Princess Bride (in Spanish: The Promised Princess ), and one who has amassed an immense fanbase , which is considered one of the best films in history , with a 98% Tomatometer , and consistently appears on the lists of the best films of the 20th century. If you haven't seen it, you can watch it on Netflix.
The movie has a complex plot. The story is a classic tale of love and adventure in which the beautiful Buttercup, betrothed to the hateful Prince Humperdinck, is kidnapped and held against her will to start a war. It will be up to Westley (her childhood boyfriend, now the dreaded Pirate Roberts) to save her. Along the way he encounters a thief and his hired assistants, an accomplished swordsman (Montoya), and a massive giant. who become your adventure companions. You have to see it.
In one of the most famous scenes of the saga, the swordsman Íñigo Montoya meets his enemy and, while they face a deadly duel, he repeatedly repeats the same words:
My name is Íñigo Montoya.
You killed my father.
Prepare to die.
Beyond the story and its ending (there are no spoilers here), the phrase is a masterclass in interpersonal communication, and using its structure will allow you to introduce yourself to anyone without major problem.
Image: Capture via YouTube.
WORD OF ESPADACHÍN
The structure is simple and consists of four steps:
- "Hello" - Say hello simply.
- "My name is Íñigo Montoya" - Identify yourself.
- "You killed my father" - Indicates a relevant relationship .
- "Prepare to die" - Set expectations .
We go step by step.
1. “Hello” - Say hello simply
Approach the person you want to introduce yourself to and say "Hi!" With a big smile and looking into his or her eyes. You can say "Good morning", or "Good afternoon", but keep it simple.
Don't say "How are you?" or enter an unnecessary question, as you will receive a predesigned answer that will end the conversation, or an awkward silence. Just say "Hello" and move on to the following.
Also, don't make unnecessary flourishes or flattery. You are not in the court of the King of France. Be simple and humane.
2. "My name is Íñigo Montoya" - Identify yourself
Introduce yourself, too, simply. Say "I am Manuel Fernández" or "I am Mónica Gálvez", your name and first surname will usually suffice; in some cases, only the first. Remember that in those moments your interlocutor is not yet "saving" information. Unless you create a connection, and soon, it will forget you in seconds.
The next step is essential.
3. "You killed my father" - Indicates a relevant relationship
It establishes some relationship or element of connection that unites them both within the same universe; something that makes you separate from "the bunch" and forces your interlocutor to pause. Something that finally makes you truly "see" , notice you and distinguish you from the crowd:
- "Hello, my name is Manuel, I also studied at that university", or
- Hi, I'm Felipe; I'm a pianist too ”, or
- "Hi, I'm Fernanda, and I'm a friend of your daughter Lucía."
Do not use your resume here, as it can be heavy. Don't say “Hi, I'm Aura, I'm Miss Universe”, or “I'm Arturo, Director of this company”. These self-introductions sound over the top and a bit smug. Use them at your risk and only as a last resort if there is no relevant relationship. In general, to speak well of yourself, it is better to have someone else do it.
4. "Prepare to die" - Set expectations
Finally, bring up the issue you want to talk about, and let it not turn into a presentation that goes nowhere: wasted time . Even if your goal is just to say hello and thank you, let them know in advance.
- “Hi, I'm Paula, a friend of your son Eduardo. I just want to tell you that your book changed my life. Thanks!"
- “Hi, I'm Carlos, I'm also a chemist. I really enjoyed your presentation, can I ask you a question? "
- “Hi, I'm Marisela, we met before, in Argentina. I want to present you a project that we have in hand, which I think may interest you. Do you think you could give me an appointment later? "
- Hello, I am Gerardo and I am a magician. Could I do a little magic for my YouTube channel? "
Remember: Don't waste time in idle talk about the weather or soccer. Instead, heighten your curiosity and your memorability by using Íñigo Montoya's Four Steps . Do not abuse a first meeting: in an elevator pitch, deals are not closed, but paths are opened . If you want to deepen a topic, it is best to look for a later appointment.
Presenting yourself well does not guarantee that they will say yes. There are thousands of reasons why someone else may not welcome you. She's in a hurry, busy, or not interested in being featured on your YouTube channel . Long live freedom! Don't be discouraged and keep practicing the four steps until you are a master swordsman, like our hero.
Do you still doubt its effectiveness? I know I promised no spoilers , but I'll say one little thing: In the end Íñigo manages to avenge his father. Mission accomplished!