There’s always a lead-in
What It’s Like to Be Invisible
Leila Janah
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I’ve actually struggled with the opposite — reducing someone (or myself) to a job or accomplishment. Lead-ins in social circles of power are challenging because the audience often wants the answer to “who is this person?” before quickly making a decision whether to move on, or not. And yet, if we service this efficiency we miss the opportunity to make a real connection between two people through their own peer discovery (on WWII geekery, perhaps). For this reason I often introduce someone simply by name — “This is Jane” or “This is Stephan” — and leave the awkwardness of the absence of a title (Duchess of York, Master Tailor at Zenga) as an urgency for the audience.

All this is to say, thank you for sharing this. It’s a reminder that while I grow frustrated with being defined by the jobs I do, people of different genders or stereotypes may look for a meaningful suggestion against the audience’s assumptions. Affirmative introductions!

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