Meeting lots of new people comes with the territory when you start a new job. That first point of introduction might not be something you’ve given much thought to, but it’s an opportunity to begin forging strong relationships and positioning yourself for success in your new role. We’ll explain how to introduce yourself at work in both formal and informal settings, with tips to make a great first impression and get your new working relationships off on the right foot.
How you introduce yourself matters–here’s why
It’s nice to get to know your new coworkers, and that’s certainly part of settling into a new job. But beyond the niceties, professional introductions serve a few more practical purposes, too.
Making a strong first impression
Six months from now, you don’t want to be that guy that makes everyone wonder, “what exactly does he do here, again?” Making a positive first impression with a strong introduction will help people remember who you are and what your role is.
Forming beneficial connections
If you want to optimize your productivity in your new role, it’s a good idea to start forming mutually beneficial relationships from day one. Learning who’s who and telling people who you are makes it easier for you to help one another and collaborate effectively.
Setting clear expectations
Working on a team becomes challenging when job responsibilities are unclear. When there’s uncertainty about who is responsible for what, it can lead to frustration and workflow breakdowns. Thus, it’s important to use your introduction to convey your new role to your coworkers and set expectations about what your duties are–and perhaps more importantly, what they’re not.
Sharing important information
Your professional introduction is a great chance to share information that’s helpful for people who work with you to know, especially if it’s something you don’t want to address dozens of times with each individual coworker.
Here’s an example: “I’m visually impaired, so I use a screen reader when I work on the computer. I can use email and other software just fine, but I just wanted to let you know because the screen reading app makes my monitor look a little different than most.”
Making friends at work is secondary to doing a good job, but it is a factor that contributes to your happiness in a role and overall sense of well-being. So, it’s worthwhile to begin getting to know people who may eventually become close acquaintances or even friends.
How to introduce yourself at work the right way
Choose the right tone
Some settings, like a board meeting, call for a more formal introduction, while others, like a break-room run-in, are better for an informal interaction. Prepare for both types of introductions and choose the one that’s more appropriate given the situation.
Make use of your point person
Oftentimes, there will be a person who’s assigned to show you around on your first day. If this is the case, you can use this go-to person to your advantage. As they introduce you to different colleagues, ask them to give you some context on the person’s role and how it relates to yours. You’ll likely be meeting lots of new people in a row, so it can be helpful to take notes.
Take advantage of various opportunities
You’ll have several opportunities for introductions during your first few weeks on the job, from one-on-one exchanges and group meetings to virtual conversations on programs like Slack, Teams or Zoom. Make use of all of these mediums to help your new coworkers get to know you and learn about them in return.
Have you ever been in the awkward situation where you’re not totally sure about someone’s name, but it’s too late to ask because you’ve already been working with them for months? Most of us have, and it can make for a pretty uncomfortable position.
Avoid that situation by formally introducing yourself whenever you interact with someone new. If you can’t remember their name after the first time you meet, ask for it again. It’s much better to do this now than to still be wondering about their name a year from now! This applies not only to your coworkers, but to other people you’ll regularly interact with like clients and vendors.
Look at the company’s org chart
Ask for a copy of the organizational chart and keep it handy at your desk for reference. This can be super helpful for learning the hierarchy of your new workplace and understanding who reports to who.
Set aside dedicated time
Exchanging names and job titles is a great starting point, but you’ll need a bit more information to form meaningful coworking relationships. After the hustle and bustle of your first day has died down, schedule time to meet one on one with individual colleagues to chat a bit further. This could be coffee in the cafeteria or a five minute Zoom call–just enough time to expand upon your initial introduction.
Example of how to introduce yourself at work – formal
“Hello, everyone. My name is Kim Robbins and I’m Acme Corp’s new operations director. My job is to evaluate our business processes and find ways to make them more efficient. I have more than a decade of experience doing similar work for corporations around the northeast. I want to learn more about each of you and what you do, so I’ll be reaching out over email this week to set up time to meet one on one. My door is always open, so if you have ideas about improving our workflows or just want to chat, please drop in.”
Example of how to introduce yourself at work – informal
“Hi! I’m Dave, our new inventory manager. Essentially, my job is to make sure we have the right number of the products in the warehouse on any given day. I moved here from Philly, where I had a similar job at a company that makes computer chips. I loved Philly, but was excited about coming here because it puts me closer to family.”
Example of how to introduce yourself at work – email/chat
“Hi, everyone! I’m Tara, and I just joined the graphic design team. Before this I was a junior designer for an agency specializing in women’s apparel brands. I’ve heard great things about working here and am looking forward to collaborating with all of you. I’m also an avid cyclist, so if anyone is ever interested in a lunchtime ride, shoot me a message!”
Whether introducing yourself in a setting that’s formal or informal, in person or over video chat, don’t forget to smile. A smile conveys enthusiasm and approachability, which is the first step in forging the positive working relationships that will help you succeed in the weeks ahead.