On the first working day, most people sit quietly and awkwardly, waiting for instructions. They wait for people to come and introduce themselves or are kind enough to invite them out for lunch. Understandably, you will feel anxious on your first day at your new company or a new team, but waiting passively for people to come and know you are not a good way to make your first impression.
People might perceive you as shy, awkward, unconfident, or unfriendly, depending on your body language and facial expression. So you should set the tone for yourself.
This is because of the conservatism bias, where people often don't revise their beliefs sufficiently even when they have new evidence. This means that it will be harder for you to change how people think about you later because people tend to judge you and believe what they want to think even they have new information about you.
Why should you care about this—you may ask.
If teamwork and connections are not vital for you, you should skip this and just focus on your work. But if it is crucial in making your working life better and helping you with the quality of your work, then you have to take that first step proactively.
In this guide, we will show you how to introduce yourself to co-workers on the first day of work in different scenarios:
- When the situation is not suitable for small talk (when you are being introduced);
- when the situation is ideal for small talk (when you are not being introduced); and
- when you are being introduced in the meeting.
If your new job is NOT a role with authority where you have to lead a team or department, your main objective in self-introduction is to make a connection and set a good impression that you would be an excellent member. Unlike managers or leaders, their self-introduction process is more complicated, and most of the time, it involves giving a short speech (pitch) about themselves. So when you are new to the job, your only task is to go around, talk to people and briefly introduce yourself.
Yes, I'm right.
I said BRIEFLY. You don't have to talk too much about yourself when your goal on the first day is to establish a connection and make a good first impression. When people think that you are at the same level and from a similar background as they do, establishing your credibility during your first time meeting is not a good idea—especially when authority does not come with your job title.
This is because you are here to join them instead of leading them, so you shouldn't be worried too much about whether people admire you because you can let your work does the talk in the future. You have to blend in before you can boast about yourself.
If your boss is not around or the company does not have the culture to introduce new members, you should be proactive. You should make use of every opportunity to introduce yourself and make more acquaintances so you can settle into the new environment faster and make yourself seen.
I couldn't stress enough the importance of making yourself heard and seen on the battlefield. If you want to contribute more and take more important responsibilities in the future, you would have first to make people remember and know more about you. Even if you are the cleverest or the most extraordinary person on earth, there will be no use if nobody knows who you are.
When you meet new people for the first time but it is not suitable for small talk, it is pretty easy to introduce yourself, and everybody can do that. But what makes it a successful self-introduction depends not so much on what you say, but how you say it:
- 👀Look at the person's eyes and say 'Hi!' with animation and enthusiasm.
- 😊Give a smile. Call his/her name if you know. Calling other people's names is one of the sweetest things you can do to someone you meet. If possible, ask the person who escorts you to your working desk what is each person's name before you introduce yourself, or request an organizational chart from him/her.
- Say your name. You can tell your full name or just your first name, but it is important to tell the person the name you prefer him/her to call you.
- Tell him/her your job title, especially if he/she is not in the same department as you or there are many people in your department.
- 🤝Give a firm handshake. A physical touch that is not invasive is fundamental to our communication and bonding.
- If there is something you genuinely admire or like about the person, like her presentation, style, or even the plant she has on her table, you can give a compliment. Skip this if you don't have anything to praise because you want to keep the connection real, and people can feel it if you are not sincere.
- Do a closing by showing your genuine interest in being there and join the team. Ask his/her name if you don't know. For example, you can say, "This is my first day here and nice to meet you. How should I call you?", "I think we will be working together, right? I am excited to be part of this team", or "I am looking forward to working with you."
It is straightforward, right? As I mentioned earlier, what you say can hardly go wrong, but it is how you deliver it that really matters. Your tone of voice will radiate interest, confidence, and enthusiasm, which will influence people's response and perception of you. Your body language should show that you are confident, so don't hide your hand in your pocket or shrink your shoulders.
When you shake their hands, look them into the eyes. Don't avoid it.
Some people tend to put their hands behind their backs or give a shy and awkward smile when greeting their co-workers. I would suggest you not do this, especially when you are greeting someone who has the same ranking as you do. It is critical for you not to be too humble (nor too arrogant) at this point because you will signal the people that you are unconfident, and some people may take advantage of that (say no to office bullies!).
It is always best for you to show that you are positive, self-assured, and someone they can rely on as a colleague. Even if you feel really unconfident, you should remind yourself and practice to keep an open posture—don't hug yourself, don't put your bag or file in front of you to form a barrier, and keep your head up when you talk.
In fact, the best case would be asking the person who brings you to your cubicle when you report to work to introduce you to people you will be working with. This would make the process easier and look more natural. Don't be afraid or shy to ask for an introduction. Here is what you can say:
I'm excited to get started today. Would it be possible for you to go around together with me and meet people who I'll be working together with?
Most of the time, the person would be glad to introduce you.
You can even chat with the person to get a clue on the department's culture, previous success stories, or current project they are working on so you can use it to blend in or complement the team when you introduce yourself later.
While the person is introducing you in front of the people, make sure you hold eye contact and give a firm handshake to everyone.
Some people, especially introverts, may prefer to have small talk instead. You may also use this when you are meeting people from other departments. When trying to chat with someone, what you say is again—not important, but your listening skills and how you say it.
You can take your time to make yourself relaxed as you try to settle in the new environment. When you are ready, talk to people during lunch break, coffee break, before the meeting, or when you take a lift.
- 👀Look at the person's eyes and greet him/her.
- 😊Give a smile. Call his/her name if you know. Calling other people's names is one of the sweetest things you can do to someone you just meet. If you want to know people's names from different departments, you can research on LinkedIn before you start working. Otherwise, you can always ask for his/her name.
- Say your name.
- Tell him/her your job title.
- Give a compliment, if any.
- 👂Be genuinely interested in the person and ask a question. Asking a question helps keep the conversation going, and it is also an opportunity for you to learn more about the person and the company. This part is vital to determine if a great connection will be established. You have to be a good listener and encourage the person to talk about himself/herself to find out what his/her interest is. Then, revolve the conversation around his/her interest to make the person feels important. Sincerity plays a crucial role at this point.
- You can also ask for the person's advice or help on some matters. People generally like to feel that their opinions matter and lend a hand to help new members.
- 🤚Do a closing by briefly touching the outside of his/her upper arm. You can also give his/her a shoulder pat before you leave. When you do this, make sure it is a very light pat. You probably don't want to do this when the conversation ends in an awkward situation or the person is the opposite sex. Generally, this pat is a sign of friendliness, and you look forward to talking to him/her again.
Sometimes, your boss might introduce you during a meeting. When you have to introduce yourself in a meeting, it is exactly the same as what you should do in a situation when it is not suitable to have small talk. Again, what you say is not important, but your body language and the overall confidence and aura that you release.
- 👀Look at the webcam, or glance at each person in the room and say 'Hi!' with animation and enthusiasm. Although you should show your enthusiasm, you shouldn't do an exaggerated wave at the people to show professionalism.
- 😊Give a smile.
- Say your name.
- Your job title.
- You can give a brief history of what and where you studied (if you are a fresh graduate), your experience, why you switch your career (if you are not coming from a relevant background before). It doesn't have to be too long—just enough to let people know who you are. The reason for you to switch your career, should not purely because of money, or because you couldn't find a job so you thought you could give this a try. This will turn people off quickly.
- You can take this opportunity to thank the hiring manager or the boss in the meeting for giving you a chance to join the company.
- If you have any information on the team's project, their challenges, or their achievements, you can talk a bit here to blend in. For example, "Laura told me before that we have a new project to collaborate on" and "I heard that this is a top-performing team in the company."
- Do a closing by showing your genuine interest in being there and join the team.
It would help if you practiced your introduction for the meeting because you have to impress a lot of people at once, including your boss. One big mistake that most people make is they often look at the boss only when introducing themselves. You should show respect and authenticity by looking at everyone, but not only your boss.
If it is a virtual call, make sure you look at the camera but not yourself or the screen when talking because eye contact establishes instant connection. If you don't have a camera, I would suggest you have one because you have to show your enthusiasm through your smile and let people know who you are.
Otherwise, you would have to exaggerate things more through your tone to show your spirit and build trust. It might be unnatural for you to do. When you are talking, you can stand up. If you are in an online meeting, make sure you sit straight and don't slouch on the chair or lay down on the bed or sofa.
We have discussed how you should introduce yourself in different scenarios depending on the situation, including:
- When the condition is not suitable for small talk;
- when you can have a conversation with them; and
- when you are in a meeting.
When you introduce yourself to colleagues, you shouldn't be worried about establishing your credibility when you first meet them. Instead, your focus should be on setting a good first impression and build a connection with them to make your working life more efficient and enjoyable.
In most circumstances, what you say is not really important, but your body language and tonality are playing a major role in appearing optimistic and assured of your abilities in contributing, specifically your eye contact and expressions. But you can't look over-confident or arrogant, so a sincere smile is an excellent way to show your warmth and friendliness.
We all know first impression matters, so it would be a great idea to practice your self-introduction beforehand, especially the introduction you will deliver during a meeting.
If you want to be perceived as someone with leadership qualities, you should say more than "Hi, my name is John, nice to meet you!" with a nervous smile and close posture.
Although what words you use don't really matter here, but the way you communicate still gives some clues to your co-workers whether you are capable or not. More importantly, it hints to your boss if you can be in the leadership pipeline in the future.
Looking at the infographic above, it definitely takes more than just words to communicate confidently. This is why you should practice your communication and speak impromptu continuously, especially after you start working. Every presentation, discussion, and negotiation will be a chance for you to demonstrate your leadership qualities, and you should ensure that you are ready for it at any time. More importantly, you should be able to speak impromptu and give a structured and polished answer whenever a question is asked, even without preparation.
With that said, all the best for your first working day! Let me know in the comment box below how it goes!