How to Succeed at Being New

How many times in your life were you new? Whether starting a new job or relationship, moving to a new neighborhood, joining a new organization, or just being new to a gathering, we do this hundreds of times in our lifetime. As per Keith Rollag, author of What to Do When You're New: How to Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful in New Situations, there are definite steps you can take to succeed at being new.

Keith starts off the book by listing the five skills necessary to do "new" well:
  1. introduce ourselves to strangers;
  2. learn and remember names;
  3. ask questions;
  4. seek out and start new relationships; and
  5. perform new things in front of others.
He then spends a chapter on each of these, giving tips on how to overcome them.

As an introvert, I still have issues introducing myself to strangers in large gatherings but the one I need to work on most is remembering names. I was glad to read that this is quite common and that we all have difficulty with this, since our brains are not wired to remember names easily. We can, however, improve our ability to do so, and below are a few of the many tips Keith shares:
  • use social media to find an image of the person you'll be meeting so you can practice associating their name and "face" before meeting them;
  • actively listen to their name as they say it and then repeat it back to them within the conversation;
  • as soon as you leave their presence, write their name down and then review it later.
And if the above hasn't worked, he provides tips on how to ask for their name again without it being too awkward.

Keith finishes with an entire chapter on how we can help others be new by providing tips for each of the new skills they'll need to learn.

Think back to the last time you were the newbie. Which of the five skills was most challenging for you? How can you help someone else overcome that?

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