Have you just accepted a new position at a brand new company? Congratulations, this is an exciting time! Maybe you’re really focused on doing a great job, or the projects you want to start, the organizational processes you want to change. But before you think about any of that, you need to focus on something else first: How to introduce yourself to a new team.
This may seem relatively trivial, but as you’ll see in this article, first impressions are extremely important. Things get even trickier if you’re introducing yourself to a new team as a manager, or if you’re working remotely and introducing yourself over Slack or email.
That’s why we’ve put together this list of 10 tips to help you introduce yourself properly. Keep reading to learn the secrets of a winning introduction, whether you’re doing it in person or via Zoom, and whether you’re the new intern or the new manager.
The importance of a first impression
It’s a well-worn saying that you never get a second chance at a first impression. The statement is true. Your new colleagues and employees will start forming their opinions about you within the first minute of meeting you–opinions that will be hard to sway after they’ve been made.
And while it’s not impossible to flip the script and eventually win over your colleagues even after you screw up an initial meeting, we recommend simply getting things right the first time around. This will allow you to build your entire relationship with your new team on a solid foundation. That’s what our tips below are for.
Introduce yourself properly with these 10 tips
None of our tips on how to introduce yourself to a new team require you to put on a show, do extensive research, or become something you’re not. Think of them as strategies or approaches for adopting the right mindset.
1. Check your attitude
One of the best ways to create a strong first impression in people’s minds is to greet your new office mates with enthusiasm. Positivity is generally a great way to win people over, but it’s even more important at work where morale may not necessarily be in tip-top shape.
So put a smile on your face, show that you’re excited to be a part of the team, and exude enthusiasm. People can read our attitude in our posture, facial expressions and voice–whether in person or through video call. A positive attitude will help endear your new staff to you and help with team development.
It might seem harder when the team is remote, but the principle remains the same.
2. Look the part
So make sure you look the part when you arrive at the workplace. Does the team wear suits and ties? Do the same. Waltzing in with board shorts and flip flops–even if that’s how everyone dressed at your last job–isn’t a great first look.
There is a lot of conflicting advice on how to dress for work, and part of that is because every industry is different. The way you dress for work at a startup might be different from the way you dress for a client-facing role at a financial consultancy.
It’s also true that the pandemic has shaken up the rules a bit. For example, in a survey from earlier this year, 10% of respondents admitted that they attended Zoom calls without pants on.
At Toggl Track, where we have a fully remote team, our position is “don’t sweat the sweatpants.” In other words, dress in what you feel comfortable in. But every workplace is different, and it’s important to remember that, for better or worse, the way you dress will impact the way others view you.
3. Read the room
You’re the new one in the room. Even if you’re the manager, and you’ve been brought in to lead the team, there’s a status quo that your new team is probably comfortable with. Destroying it completely at the very beginning won’t win you any friends. So, before you make any changes, get the lay of the land first–or, as entrepreneur and leadership writer Darren Ryan puts it, “be quiet and ask questions.”
Find out the skills that each of your team members possess; who is easy to work with and who has more of a prickly personality, the company processes that your team enjoys using, and more. Anything and everything that will help you get a clear picture of what goes on at your new office will be helpful. If needed, you can always make changes later.
“Room,” by the way, is metaphorical. The same principle applies whether the room is an actual office or a Slack channel.
4. Listen before you speak
This is just good advice in general. But it’s absolutely essential advice when you’re learning how to introduce yourself to a new team. As we mentioned in our previous tip, don’t just barge into your new office and start making changes. Learn to listen first. Ask questions and get your team’s opinions.
This approach has two major benefits, especially if you’re in a managing role. First, your team will appreciate it when you ask for their input. We all want to feel listened to, and when the new boss asks what we think, we feel valued. This alone will help you win over new colleagues.
And second, it gives you the chance to learn about your new place of work. An existing company process may seem ridiculous to you. But perhaps there’s a method behind the madness. You’ll never know if you don’t listen, and you could potentially harm your new company if you eliminate crucial processes.
5. Take initiative
It’s important that you take the initiative in the beginning and introduce yourself to your new office mates. Don’t wait for them to come to you. This will make you seem much more approachable as well as likable.
It might seem so obvious that it’s not much of a tip at all, but sometimes a first hello is all it takes. It might seem more challenging to say hello when you’re not in the same room together, but it’s not impossible. Depending on the onboarding conventions at your new workplace, you might be asked to send out an email introducing yourself.
In that case, go a bit further than the basics, such as your name and role. Name a hobby or an interest, and sign off with an indication that you’re willing to talk.
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6. Acknowledge the entire staff
When taking the initiative and meeting your new team members, do your best to meet everyone. Don’t only focus on the so-called decision makers at your new company. Lower-rung employees will notice and you may be seen as a shallow ladder-climber.
Each person in your new organization, from the highest level executive to the greenest intern, plays a role. Acknowledge them all (or at least try to) and you’ll win a ton of first impression bonus points. And who knows? In a few years that intern may be running the entire show.
7. Get your hands on an org chart
Depending on the size of the company you’re now working for, remembering all the names and faces that you just introduced yourself to may be a challenge. That’s where an organization chart (org chart for short) can really come in handy.
So don’t be afraid to ask the HR department for this document. It will help you recall names, understand who does what inside the company, and who to contact for specific things.
8. Follow up promptly
This is definitely a pro-level tip, mostly because so few people do it. Stand out from the crowd and really learn how to introduce yourself to a new team by following up via email with each person you’ve just introduced yourself to. If you can’t do this for everyone, at least message the main people you’ll be interacting with on a regular basis.
You don’t have to write anything long and complicated. In fact, short and to the point is better. Just tell them that you enjoyed meeting them, you appreciate their time, and that you look forward to working with them in the future. Then invite them to reach out to you if they ever need assistance or have questions.
9. Create relationship-building opportunities
Great working environments are built upon strong office relationships. As the new guy or girl, it behooves you to try building these relationships as soon as possible. If you’re the leader, attempt to organize relationship-building opportunities soon after arriving.
For example, you could schedule a team lunch or after work drinks at a local pub. If you’re in a virtual office, you could schedule a virtual happy hour.
Just make sure you consider our third tip (“Read the room”) before barreling through with a plan that no one is interested in. Try to get a feel for what your new colleagues like before launching something like this unilaterally. This doesn’t mean you have to be discouraged–in fact, this could be a good excuse to email a new coworker to ask for help or advice.
You might be tempted to skip this step, especially if you feel like you have a lot of work. But working effectively isn’t necessarily about working long hours. Try using Toggl Track to time some of your tasks or breaks. Did you just spend 15 minutes checking Twitter? You can definitely spare 15 minutes getting a coffee with the person who sits next to you.
You may not be in the position to plan events during work hours. But that doesn’t mean your relationship building opportunities are dead in the water. Ask your new colleagues on an individual basis if they’d like to get together for lunch, meet up after work, or have a video chat.
10. Embrace change
The last and final tip for how to introduce yourself to a new team and do it successfully is to embrace change. Things at your new workplace will be different from the last. You’ve likely heard the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.”
Some things at the new workplace will probably be better. Others might be worse. But you’re here now, and it’s up to you to adapt.
Change what you can when it makes sense. But also realize that you’re starting a new chapter. Keep an open mind and your new colleagues will be much more likely to think favorably of you from the very beginning.
Learning how to introduce yourself to a new team is all very good and well, but applying what you learned isn’t always easy, especially if you’re not the most outgoing person.
But no matter what personality type you have, you can still make a first impression that endears you to your new colleagues.
And remember, while first impressions are important, there are ways to swing public opinion back in your favor should you screw up an initial meeting. Keeping these tips in mind from the outset should hopefully help make things easier.