Things have been changing fast, lately, on all fronts.
On the business side, following the great resignation, and in spite of the current geopolitical instability and economic uncertainties, many European companies are super busy with up-skilling, re-staffing, recruiting, and shuffling people around.
In this constantly moving landscape, many find themselves in need to answer a key question: “how will I introduce myself to a new boss/team/colleague?”
It might seem banal, but we all have this myth in our head, that a first impression is all that really counts. It is a myth, of course, because what really counts is how we actually manage to work and collaborate as we continue to get to know each other. What is true, however, is that a positive and memorable first impression can make it easier and faster to launch a productive collaboration, especially in busy times. Nothing worse than hearing a long detailed – completely forgettable – introduction for then having to ask again “who did you say you are?”
Yet the anxiety is there, expressed in dramatic quotes like “you only have one chance to make a first impression”. So, what can we do to feel well prepared and relaxed about any first impressions we will have to make?
My “recipe” has 7 ingredients:
- Check your ENERGY and adjust it as best as you can. If we are stressed or tired or in a bad mood, we will not be at our best, pretty obvious isn’t it? So: make sure you are physically well rested, mentally clear (no mulling over useless stuff), emotionally strong (positive and motivated, no cynicism or negativity) and spiritually aligned with your values. (To know more about Personal Energy and Personal Power of Influence, you may want to check this introductory video)
- Start from “TRUST”: prepare mentally and emotionally to trusting (both “them” and yourself!), smile every time you think of you with them, picture them as your friends and allies and yourself as happy and relaxed. This is probably the most difficult step because it is natural to feel anxious about the unknown, but if we are anxious we will be and come across as defensive. So make the conscious decision to offer your trust as a gift; it is such a nice gift, virtually nobody can resist and they will trust you in return! Tell yourself you are safe and you want to make others feel safe as well. Allow yourself to be human and vulnerable, everybody will relax!
- Do not teach, DANCE! It is a conversation to get to know each other, not a monologue. You do not need to hold a lecture about yourself, keep a good balance, you offer something then you ask something, you are curious and they are curious, one step each, take the initiative then follow, improvise and dance in the moment.
- Learn to LISTEN, really listen, and not only to the facts that others are telling you, listen to “them” both verbally and non-verbally and learn to “read the room” as well. When we are stressed, we might go into our head and focus on gaining as many facts and details as possible in order to draw our own conclusions. This is OK in a classroom, but when you are trying to establish rapport, focus on the person (you do not need detailed info like “who said this and who did that” and “how many of this and how many of that”; this is info to satisfy our own curiosity, and it distracts us from “SEEING” the persons in front of us, what do they think and feel about what is being said?).
- Tell STORIES as much as you can, or at least use small examples, nobody wants to hear a long list of dates, facts and achievements, it is boring enough when you have to go through a conventional CV (in fact, practice by writing an exciting personalised BIO, the type that leaves people wanting to get to know more). Remember that stories are a lot more memorable than a list of bullet points.
- Watch out for JUDGMENTAL or MILITARY language. This is often forgotten, but if we want to create a safe space when we start from trusting each other, we need to walk the talk and talk the walk. Conflicts will certainly come once we start to work together, and they will even be welcome once we know that we can debate diverse ideas without going to war against each other. Therefore it is very important to have a respectful foundation. So, avoid being righteous: no absolute right or wrong statements (although we can say “this feels wrong to me”) and no military expressions (we are not choosing battles, we are prioritising; we are not attacking a target, we are communicating to an audience; we do not have a killer-instinct, we like to identify swift initiatives).
- Craft your WOW-FACTOR: Know your self and your uniqueness, clarify it, keep it in mind, refer to it frequently when you touch different topics, not to be pedantic, but to reinforce the main colours of your persona. Laugh and joke about it and use it to support some serious examples too. This free video contains some exercises to help you with your WOW-FACTOR.
You can do all of the above yourself, or you can work with an Executive Coach.
If you wish to try working with a coach, get in touch (firstname.lastname@example.org), we have several coaches covering a number of European languages, always happy to offer one free trial session.
If you wish to work with me, email me directly (email@example.com) to reserve a slot, I will have a couple of openings after the summer.
Lead with a Smile!
Managing Partner, Grooa AS
Registered company, HQ address: Manglerudveien 93, 0678 Oslo (Norway)
Visiting address: Grooa Inspiria Learning Center, Den Hoek 33, 5421XG Gemert (Netherlands)