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Archive for June, 2013


How to Make New Employees Feel Comfortable

During the first few weeks of employment, new hires may be excited about taking on a new position, yet they may also be apprehensive about the role they play in the workplace. Helping recently hired employees during this transitional period is crucial to ensuring their continued success in the new position. Whether you are a manager or an established colleague, here are a few ways to make new employees feel comfortable as they transition to their new work environment.

Give Them an Insider’s View
On the first few days of a new job, it is general practice to take employees on a tour of their new work environment. However, going a step beyond the general tour can help a new employee to feel more like an insider. Is there a short cut to the employee cafe? Show it to them. Invite them to join you and your friends at lunch. Give them a list of local eateries and what’s best on the menu. Don’t assume they know how to load paper into the copier or create a password on your internal system. Include them in social gatherings where they can connect with their colleagues outside of the office.

Make a Social Connection
Building a workplace community means helping employees feel connected to those who share their office. New employees should be given a list of email addresses, phone numbers and other contact information for everyone with whom they may do business. Make introductions in person when appropriate.

Create Mentorships
For new employees taking on a complicated position, it can be challenging to find a routine. Create a mentorship relationship for every new hire to make sure he or she has a go-to colleague who can be trusted to provide the right answers. Ideally, this person should be a seasoned employee who is familiar with the new hire’s responsibilities.

Making sure a new hire is welcome and feels comfortable as soon as possible ensures a smooth transition into a new role and gives new employees a head start in a successful career path with your organization.


Networking Tips for Shy People

Networking is an important key for building professional relationships and doing it effectively can positively impact your career. Despite its value for business, networking is intimidating for many people. If introducing yourself to strangers, making small talk and asking for contact information is more than you think you can handle, here are a few tips for successful networking even if you are shy.

Do Some Prep Work
If possible, prepare before a networking event by meeting a few people online or through a connected contact. For example, if you work within a specific industry, you can find a blog or visit a social media group that focuses on your niche. This is one way you often can connect to local people before walking into a room full of strangers. As an added bonus, many of these virtual contacts can offer you an introduction to others who can become beneficial contacts for your career.

Remember to Smile
This tip may seem obvious; however, introverts often take networking so seriously that it may show on their face. To avoid looking overly serious during a networking event, be sure to smile. This one simple move instantly makes you more approachable and interesting to others. If you need a reminder, recruit a friend to signal you by flashing a grin your way.

Carry Business Cards
For shy people, asking for contact information at the end of a meeting may be intimidating. To keep contact with new connections, always carry business cards, even when you are not expecting to meet someone new. This way, you will have a handy way to provide your contact information to the new people you meet while making it clear that you would like to meet again in the future. Offer your card to them and ask for theirs. Make sure you follow up within a day or two to firm up the connection.


Three Key Listening Skills

Notice Nonverbal Cues
As you listen to speakers, their nonverbal behavior provides valuable insight into their message. These nonverbal cues can help you to determine the credibility of speakers as well as their state of mind. Do they act and speak with confidence, or do you detect uncertainty in their body language? Are they sitting or standing tall and looking directly at you, or are they fidgeting and avoiding eye contact? Using the information from observing their nonverbal cues will help you establish the significance and credibility of their statements.

Be Actively Involved
When a person is speaking, he or she will also be watching your body language to assess your credibility. Therefore, it is important to make good eye contact and lean slightly toward the person to show interest. Always avoid interrupting the person; just nod as a way to provide feedback without being disruptive.

Reflect and Respond
Once a person has finished speaking, it is important to clarify your understanding. Responding with a recap of the person’s main points is one way to make sure that you have understood the information provided. Then, be sure to follow up with the speaker later by mentioning something that was said in the conversation. This way, you will be able to continue to build upon the connection you have made through active listening.

Listen more than you speak to improve business relationships and demonstrate leadership. Diane Sawyer, an award-winning television news anchor who built her career by listening to others once said, “I think the one lesson I have learned is that there is no substitute for paying attention.”