Effective Communication Skills When You’re New to a Group or TeamOn October 18, 2019 by Raul Dinwiddie
We sometimes find ourselves and newish professional settings or social situations where we’re not exactly sure how to contribute, what we should be prioritizing. So let’s talk about the top three priorities that you should have when you’re in this new or novel situation. I’m Alex Lyon and I’m here to provide professional development tips to help you increase your impact and lead your teams with more excellence. If you have never subscribed to this channel before, I’d like to invite you to do so. I think all these videos help people that I call rising leaders. If you’re a team leader, front-line supervisor, or front- line manager, everything on here is meant to help you sharpen your skills. So go ahead and subscribe, thumbs up the video, if you like it, start commenting in the section below. I’m really good about responding to almost every single comment people post so we can start a dialogue. Okay. Now on to the lesson. I don’t know about you but a lot of times I feel like my old moves at my old team might not translate to a new setting. So now with higher-level people or people I don’t know that well and I’m not really sure how to jump in and contribute in a meaningful way. Let’s talk about three ways that you can instantly position yourself as a credible contributor to that group. Number one. Open a communication channel. That means non-verbally and verbally open a line of communication to every other single person in that room. So let’s just picture a room and several other people and you walk into this situation, you should instantly attempt to make eye contact with every other person in the room. You also verbally want to say something to each person if you can fit appropriate. Minimally, the people next to you but certainly everybody if this is pre-meeting, if you’re making small talk. So you open a nonverbal and a verbal channel. If there’s, if it’s appropriate and there’s someone there close enough to you shake their hand especially if it’s before the meeting is starting, especially if you’re just introducing yourself. Most, most places are still okay with handshakes. I know a lot of places, like. Don’t touch. It’s not Okay to touch. But a handshake is still considered appropriate and professional. And then maintain, during the course of that meeting, and continue to make eye contact, continue to orient your body toward people. You don’t want to fall into the trap of looking down at your computer or your devices the entire time. In fact, I have a whole separate video about the downside of using devices in meetings. I encourage you to watch that I’ll put a link in the description below this video to that. So that’s the first step is opening a channel and maintaining that channel the entire meeting. The second step is to learn every person’s name. When I know someone’s name, I feel really equipped to have a conversation with them because I know who they are, hopefully they know who I am, and now at least you have a way to refer to that person. You know their identity. So what I like to do is I sit down to these meetings especially in a new situation. I take out an old-fashioned piece of paper and write down everyone’s name. A lot of time people will introduce themselves, for example, and as they go around, I make notes about who’s who. And that way, throughout the meeting I can look at my notes. And if I have a little down moment where I’m not doing anything that’s too hard, I look down the list and I look at their faces and I rehearse their names in my head to really make sure I engrain those names and own those names by the end of that meeting and I really have memorized everybody in the room. It’s really not that hard if you put just a little bit of effort into it. So now you know everybody’s name. The third step to contributing is to make sure you add some kind of value to that meeting. You don’t just want to listen, although listening is good. You don’t just want to be non-verbally involved, although nonverbals are good. You want to do things like offer your opinion at least once or twice. Offer some information. Ask a question that leads the group in a positive direction. Build on something that somebody else has said. That’s a really easy way to get involved. You want to make sure you say something. If you’re at that meeting, you have to realize, even if your brand new, people expect you to contribute and say something of value from the very first meeting. You can’t just sit around and ramp up over the course of two, three, four meetings. They want you contributing right away. In fact, I said something really useless. In fact, it was a little confrontational at a meeting once among some very high- level people. And I felt kind of embarrassed and I clammed up. And afterwards, I said to my boss, I’m really sorry that I said that. That was stupid. I should have thought about my words more carefully. He put his hand on my shoulder and said, Alex, at least you said something. Otherwise we’re all going to start wondering what you were paying, we were paying you for. I thought, wow that’s a pretty graceful response. But, even at that level, people want you contributing. They want you from the very first meeting to say something where you add value. So don’t be shy about it. Break the ice. Contribute verbally something. So those are the three ways that you can prioritize your work in these meetings And it is work. You have to go in with a little bit of a plan into these meetings so you show up as a professional, as someone who is credible, as someone who should be taken seriously by the other people in the group. So I mentioned earlier if you haven’t yet subscribed, I encourage you to do so. I encourage you to look around the channel, find some other videos that might help you move your career forward, help you move your team forward, and I look forward to starting a conversation in the comments section below this and other videos. So thanks. God bless and I hope you get to use the tips we are talking about your very next team meeting.