Entering a new environment is exciting, but sometimes scary. You are moving out of your comfort zone to try something new – a new job, starting study, a new neighbourhood or adventuring somewhere else in the world. These opportunities give you a chance to engage other people and grow your network.
I will admit, it’s taken me more than 40 years, three degrees, and a lot of missed opportunities to figure this out! Here are my tips for developing your confidence in new settings, and making the most
of those new opportunities.
Be confident in addressing 3 key areas:
- Can you confidently introduce yourself?
- Can you explain ‘what do you do?’ in 25 words or less?
- Can you answer ‘Where you are from?’ without a geography lesson or rehashing your resume?
You might practice with a trusted friend, draft it as your short biography, or simply practice in front of a mirror. If you know who you are, and what makes you tick, and can express this without ums, ahs, and ‘sort-of-like-you-know’ in your answers, you can be more confident in meeting new people.
Embracing a new environment:
Learn names, and use them.
Listen. It can be hard for some people to really listen, because we are so busy thinking of what we are going to say next! Listen to what they are saying. Affirm what the speaker has said. Ask them a relevant question, build rapport, and see where the conversation takes you both.
Be open to the ideas of others. Be prepared to hear new stories and different perspectives from your own. Coming in as a ‘know-it-all’ can be a big turnoff. Don’t talk about “At XYZ we used to do ABC”, but present your ideas and options without the shadow of the past. Phrasing like “Have you considered doing ABC?” might get you a lot further than telling people your old work/house/neighbourhood was bigger, better, and brighter.
Take hold of opportunities to meet new people and grow your network:
If you are a university or college student, go to the extra workshops, seminars, or information sessions that are on offer. You will meet other students, but also be connected to key staff with expertise to assist you. Join clubs, groups, online forums and social events.
If you are in a new workplace, make the effort to join social activities and events. You might need to figure out which ones are a good fit for you longer term, but by showing your willingness to get involved, you will have many more opportunities than someone who stays behind their desk and is solely task oriented.
New neighbourhood? Meet the neighbours, smile at the people who walk past your house, and be prepared to be involved in your community. Whether it is a volunteer or service organisation, a craft group, or holiday event to attend, be willing to invest some time and effort in the place you live. You will get much more than you give.
Need some advice on growing your network, practicing your skills or identifying opportunities? Contact us.