To be accessible does not just meant having an “open door policy” or ensuring your team knows your cell phone number. Accessibility is about creating an atmosphere where your colleagues can reach you – even interrupt you – and leave the interaction with a positive feeling. Are you accessible? Perhaps you possess low self-awareness of how your behavior in your organization diminishes outreaches by others.
How comfortable are you when introducing yourself to others? One characteristic of effective Introducers is that they are naturally comfortable introducing themselves. It could also be that they have mastered the ability to diminish any short-term discomfort that arises as they do.
I believe you can build your ability to be consistent, attentive, skilled, and invested when introducing yourself. However, I think it would be presumptuous to tell you to be comfortable when introducing yourself. Whether you are an Avoider, Fumbler or just plain unconsciously competent, some of you will not be comfortable introducing yourself, no matter how many books you read.
Introducers introduce themselves with energy, clarity, and confidence. Why reinvent the wheel? Let’s take a cue from our Introducer colleagues and practice some of the behaviors they weave into their introductions that make Introducers so effective when connecting themselves to others. Recall that, at their best, Introducers are the following:
Have you ever noticed that there are some colleagues who just seem to have a talent for remembering names? Do you covet their secret? Have they bought a DVD on the Home Shopping Network to build their memory skills? Do they picture a boat when they meet Bob and a house when they meet Harry?
For a variety of reasons, some of you are more able to remember names than others. I don’t know the secret, if there really is a secret, or if there is one secret that fits all of us. Colleagues who seem to remember names tend to be attentive and invested in the conversation. They have made a conscious choice that remembering a name is important.
Regardless of how strong your introduction started, your best efforts will be eroded without a strong finish. When introducing yourself, how you exit introductions might be the last thing a new colleague remembers about you, so make sure you have a strong finish.
A strong introduction is one of the keys to successfully introducing yourself to a colleague. It’s my hope to shift mindsets from believing it’s unimportant to the belief that it’s a critical behavior to embrace in today’s fast-paced and frenetic organizations.
I have a new book coming out in April 2020 called Drive Your Career: 9 High-Impact Ways to Take Responsibility for Your Own Success. In this book, I share experiences and advice on how to successfully navigate your way through ever-changing work environments.
Approaching others or being receptive to the advance of others, great eye contact, and a confident handshake are key components to a strong start. These behaviors illustrate that you are comfortable and skilled at introducing yourself. In real time, your strong start will last from five to seven seconds. Don’t underestimate, however, the difference that a few seconds can make when introducing yourself effectively.
It is natural to not pay attention to something you do all the time. However, you should not confuse being practiced at something with being good at something. You eat all of the time, yet that does not mean you eat what you should. You sleep all of the time, yet that does not mean you always have a good night’s sleep. Even if you introduce yourself to others frequently, you are not necessarily a world class introducer.
When introducing yourself, do you do so poorly? Perhaps you are inconsistent, inattentive, or under-skilled. Perhaps you don’t value the benefit of a solid introduction. Whatever the reason, your inability to introduce yourself effectively leaves others feeling unimpressed and underwhelmed.