When we bring people together who mostly don't know each other, we now have more than enough technology to supply everyone beforehand with pictures and bios, making unnecessary the usual (faux) "introductions" of going around the room with less information. They also preempt the usual introductions as serial monologue data downloads. Either way, I would qualify neither of these as authentic introductions, which I define as people interacting directly in ways that evoke a sense of wanting to spend more time together. I would argue that authentic introductions are dialogues rather than monologues.
So what I do is get people in groups of 2, 3 or 4 and give them contactful questions that have the power to invite authentic introductions. Here are some examples.
- What would you be doing if you weren't here today?
- What's something good or interesting most people here don't know about you?
- What's something you know how to do that most people here don't know about you?
- What's shifting for you in your life now?
- What's your dream?
- Where did your current passion begin for you?
Every time, people used to faux introductions are amazed at how quickly, easily and naturally people spark new narrative connections. I then invite people to continue self-organizing their own introductions with whoever else in the group they want during and beyond on our scheduled time together. The work of host is to remind people that they are in charge of making their own meaningful introductions rather than outsourcing the responsibility to a parent figure leader.
These are authentic introductions.