Wracking your brains on how to introduce yourself as a new employee is indeed a daunting task. All these conflicting thoughts swirl in your
head, like striking a balance between how you prefer to appear to everyone and how everyone prefers you to appear. You want to appear very knowledgeable, but you don't want to be labeled as a know-it-all. You want to appear friendly, but you don't want everyone else to think like you want to become their instant buddy/BFF. You want to appear very efficient and focused, but you're worried about coming across as too uptight and serious. Can't decide what steps to take in this dilemma? Try these simple and practical ways on how to go about your first day at work.
When a Formal Introduction Is Needed
Say your first chance of being with your coworkers is during your daily departmental debriefing where everyone–including the boss–is present. HR cheerfully fetches you from the building lobby and leads you to the meeting venue. HR bursts the door open, and you see a mix of stern, curious, condescending, amused, who-the-heck-is-that looks plastered on unfamiliar faces. You feel stomach acid rise to your throat and cold sweat trickle down your spine. What to do?
Don't just give a shy nod, a quick smile, and a blank look at your shoes–you are not a new student being introduced to your new middle school classmates. Give a powerful, one-stroke hand wave, flash a smile, and say "Hello" with eye contact. Eye contact while doing all those gestures simultaneously is extremely important to establish an impression on your new colleagues. Maintain this eye contact with your audience as you follow up your greeting with, "I'm (your name), the new (your position). I'm looking forward to working with all of you." Remember, no matter how clever your introductory spiel is, it is never going to work unless you look your new coworkers in the eye. This move alone shows that you aren't afraid to take on whatever good or bad awaits you in your new job with your new colleagues.
In dealing with one-on-one formal introductions, extend your hand to initiate a firm handshake (which you have surely mastered even before you had the application interview). Once you have exchanged names, don't forget to repeat the name of the person introduced to you. A "See you around, Jake" is way more effective than a mere "Hi" back.
You may not have had the opportunity to be formally introduced to everyone at the daily meeting, so now you have to rely solely on your PR skills
to let everyone know in various ways and contexts that you actually exist. Some reminders:
1. Don't kiss-ass your way to get on everyone's good side. Introduction techniques like volunteering to clean the pantry, fix the photocopy machine, and oh, photocopy some documents for someone else, and doing these tasks one after the other, is a guaranteed way for everyone to label you a doormat. Remember, respect is what you should get out of your colleagues. You need not be a saint to be respected. In fact, your coworkers would surely give that respect to you if you…
2. Hold your own. Show everyone that you're dead serious about doing what you came in for–work. Are you adept at making audiovisual presentations? Use this to initiate a chat with a colleague who is preparing for a presentation, and share a scoop or two (in a non-airhead way, please) on new presentation ideas. Are you the man when it comes to logistics? Chat with a project head and make this your starter conversation. In these ways, people will know that you're leveling with them.
And now, lunch. To stay in your cubicle or go to the pantry?
Sure, staying in your cubicle is a really good idea–if you want to be called weird and socially incapable. Yes, you are nervous, and it will really feel awkward to gingerly find an empty seat among your colleagues. Make every effort to muster enough wisdom to pry yourself away from your desk and socialize with the rest of the world during lunch break. When in the lunch room, remember to politely ask if the seat you are about to grab is already taken or reserved for someone else. As soon as you sit down, turn on all observation senses to detect anything you can use to initiate a conversation. Say you notice that a coworker is really into her chicken salad (which happens to be one of your favorite foods). Casually ask if she made it or where she bought it, and snowball a chat from there. A warning, though: Never commit the mistake of bringing a whole bunch of food for everyone on your first day to back up your introduction. That's just way overboard and threatening. Plus, people will start to think you're trying too hard–and this is a sure way to annoy your coworkers.The technique to keep the ball rolling in your introductory conversations is finding something common between you and a person and taking it from there. It is so much better than a standard "Hi, I'm Krima (or Joe)" before you sit down to munch quietly on your food.
Now, That Wasn’t So Bad…
Finding ways on how to introduce yourself as a new employee is more than just letting new coworkers know what your name is. Use the opportunity to do more than just an exchange of names—establish good office relations with everyone to make introductions more meaningful and less mechanical.
This post is part of the series: Office Survival Tips
- 10 Great Strategies for Getting Along with Coworkers
- Workplace Don’ts: 10 Sure Ways to Annoy Coworkers
- Examples of Good Work Ethics
- Consequences of Work Stress
- How to Introduce Yourself as a New Employee