Co-workers working in an office setting

September 17, 2021, by indybamra1

How To Feel More Confident Meeting New People at Work

The Career Wellbeing blog series. We know that thinking about your career, applying for jobs, and moving into the workplace can be exciting, but we also know that sometimes it can present challenges and might be a source of stress or anxiety. That’s why, in this blog series, we will explore some of the things that might cause you concern and provide helpful insight and advice, alongside ideas and inspiration for your future career wellbeing.

By Christian Jameson-Warren, Employability Education Projects Officer

Starting a new job inevitably requires you to meet new people, which can be daunting for a variety of reasons.

Full disclosure: I’m naturally both very shy and introverted. For example, at school parents’ evenings, the feedback from my teachers ranged from ‘he’s nice but needs to speak up more because we never hear him’ through to ‘what’s your name again? Which one are you?’ At social events, I’m most comfortable being the proverbial wallflower.

As you can imagine, I had to work at being comfortable not just with meeting but building good relationships with new people. So if you’re feeling the same, the below points are taken from both research and my own experience to help you with meeting new people when starting a new role.

Prepare a brief introduction

It’s handy to have a few lines prepared that you can say when a colleague asks you about yourself. With a bit of prior practice, you can make this sound more professional and confident, which helps with giving a good first impression! For example, ‘I studied X at the University of Nottingham. What I enjoyed was X, and what I wanted to do more of was X at an organisation like X, so I’m very excited to be here.’

Don’t make it about you

One of our deepest psychological needs as human beings is the need to feel connected with other people. The flipside of this is that one of our biggest fears is shame or in other words the pain of looking bad (or our perception of looking bad) in front of other people and being judged by them. This is predominately our source of worry when it comes to meeting new people, i.e., that we’ll make a bad impression in some way and people will think badly of us.

Luckily a great way around this is also a great way to make a good first impression. Take the focus off you and focus on finding out about other people. This includes understanding the aims and objectives of their role, and how your role fits with theirs. Being clear on how you can help others achieve their aims is a great way to build trust and rapport. You can also bring a notebook for taking notes – people will understand when you’re new to the company.

Set yourself specific goals

It can be beneficial to take the pressure off yourself by focusing on very specific, smaller goals that you can control. For example, thoughts such as ‘I need to impress everyone’ aren’t always helpful because, firstly, you can’t control how people react to you. Secondly, with a goal that broad you’ll inevitably focus on what didn’t go as well as you’d hoped. A better goal might be something such as, ‘I’m going to practice my introduction and ask everyone a question about themselves.’ This is a very specific, achievable goal that you can control and feel more confident about.

In summary, prepare how you want to introduce yourself when people ask, think about how you can help others achieve their goals, and set yourself realistic goals. These are achievable actions that you can take to build good relationships with your new colleagues and start to demonstrate the value you can bring to an organisation.

Ask for help

It could be worthwhile and helpful to talk things through with someone you trust. You could even practice asking them some questions to get your confidence up before asking your new colleagues. You could also book an appointment to speak to a careers adviser for support.

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