Tina Lewis Rowe

Insights, Information & Inspiration

Your Inauguration Day–The “I’m New Here” Speech

At least every eight years Americans have the opportunity to hear an inaugural speech from a new President. Historically some of those have been more memorable than others–but actually you could probably cut and paste from every presidential speech over time and no one would know the difference.

“Not only this government but each of us as American citizens, must accept responsibility for our common success and for our success as individuals, businessess, organizations, and as a country. We cannot expect more service, loyalty, honesty, commitment and valor from government and public sector officials and employees, military commanders and soldiers, and leaders and employees of trade and industry, than we are prepared to give as individuals among our own constituents.”

That’s a good quote, isn’t it? Do you know who said it?

Actually, I did. Just now. But it sounds like something in incoming president would say, doesn’t it?

Here is the point (and you know I will have one!): People who move into new positions of authority, who are new employees or who transfer to a new assignment, are expected to graciously say hello to everyone with whom they will be working. There is no rule about it and someone might tell you it is not necessary–but it is.

As a new employee: Your inaugural speech as a new employee can start with a hello.
“Hi there! I’ve seen you around this morning as I’ve been getting settled in, but I haven’t had a chance to say hello. I guess you know my name–Fred Haggett–and I know you’re Karen, right?”

That starts things out just fine. Then you can give your speech:
“Well, I just wanted to say hello and let you know that I’m glad to be here and I’m looking forward to working with you.”

You could say more, but that’s all that is necessary. If you say it with a sincere smile and do not ruin it by bad-mouthing your last workplace or getting involved with gossip the coworker might start, you’ll do fine.

Make sure you ask for a brief meeting with your immediate supervisor as well, and let him or her know you want to be an effective and successful employee and will contribute fully to the group. Find out what your supervisor or manager considers to be good work for you, and commit to accomplishing it. You may receive a first-day lecture from your supervisor. Assume that he or she may be as nervous about meeting a new employee as you are about meeting a new supervisor!

Transfering into a new assignment: When you transfer into a new assignment within the same organization, you may already know some of the people–which means they either know you or have heard about you. This is your chance to rebuild your reputation or strengthen it, according to your situation. A greeting to each employee is still a good idea. Say hello, avoid getting involved with ongoing feuds or complaints, and talk positively about your former assignment and your plans to enjoy the new one.

Moderation in all things applies here. Smile, get started with work right away, and appropriately defer to those with tenure or status, while you gain tenure and status of your own.  Communicate with your new supervisor or manager and focus on your role and how you can fulfill it.

You have become the new supervisor or manager: Whether or not you have been in the role before, there is an expectation of effectiveness from the very beginning that can start with your “I’m new here” speech. When I use the term speech, I don’t mean a formal presentation from a podium. However, you and others will regret it if you do not put some effort into developing a more formal greeting to supplement the informal chats with the people in your section or team.

This topic requires another article, so I will provide that in a few days! However, for now consider these key points: 1.) It really is true that you only have one chance to make a good first and lasting impression. 2.) There are cultural and organizational expectations about the formal greeting. You should follow those, no matter how innovative you want to be–or how much you would rather not say anything at all. 3.) You do not have to be eloquent or speak for very long to accomplish your inaugural presentation. However, you should make one and it should establish a foundation for the future.

The bottom line: You have probably read or heard my thought that every day is an assessment center or a promotional process and every day is a job interview. Every day is also an inaugural for you with someone else. Pay attention to how people you have not met before–or have not seen for awhile–make themselves known to you. Some will be much more effective than others. Then, make sure you are as effective as possible when it is your turn.

January 20th, 2009 Posted by | Life and Work | 5 comments