So today I want to give you a step by step guide on how to introduce yourself to a new project team.
The secret is simple:
Someone gives credit to your management skills. You position yourself as a leader.
Let’s break it down!
Imagine you come to a new company and the new project. Someone shows you the room where your team is located.
You get in and ask:
“May I have your attention please?”
Then several minutes they get together to listen to you. You give your boring speech that no one cares about and no one remembers what you talked about.
[Check this article later: How to Make Your Team Honor Their Commitments]
So we’re going to change it right now!
But first I need to tell you about the sources of power or sources of authority that you have.
Sources of Power of a Project Manager
By default, your title of a project manager, even the junior project manager, gives you the Formal Power
But you should never use it!
You also have power and authority that comes from your ability to Reward and Penalize people and from your Expert Knowledge.
But from day one, no one knows that you have this.
That’s why to get your initial authority in a new team, you need to tap into the Referral Source of Power.
How to Gain Referral Power in a New Team
In essence, it means someone needs to introduce you and give credit to your experience and your knowledge.
Ideally, it should be your boss or someone from leadership.
But you can ask a project manager that you substitute on this project or a project manager who interviewed you as well.
If no one is available from these people, do ask the recruiters or HR guys to help you out here.
And here’s the magic of this approach:
When someone introduces you, it doesn’t sound like you brag about yourself about your achievements and certifications. Someone gives credit to your skills, knowledge, and experience, and that’s great.
And here’s all they need to tell:
“Hey, Team, here’s Peter. He is a project manager and a great leader. He is a certified PMP and his five years of experience in our field. I hope you’ll like him as much as we did in the interviews.”
Did notice it’s just three sentences that cover everything that your team needs to know about you as the introduction from your leadership.
And believe me:
If you overcome your fear of asking your leadership about such kinds of introductions, you’ll be able to build a rapport with your new team ten times faster.
Script: How to Introduce Yourself on a New Project
And the right after this short introduction, it’s your time to speak.
You need to prepare your speech in advance!
Thinking about what to tell a new team on the fly is a bad idea because you have only one chance to make your first impression.
Moreover, there’s one piece of information that you need to learn about in advance before you get into the room with your project team.
You need to ask about some history of the project. Learn about one or two achievements of these teams so that you can use it in your speech.
So now you are ready to prepare your speech for the new team.
I’ve got you covered here because right now I’ll give you a step by step formula to create a brief and powerful introduction to a new team.
What You Need to Say First in You Introduction
So here’s what you need to keep in mind:
Your boss or your leadership will introduce you from a professional standpoint as a project manager. You want to position yourself as a leader of this team.
Your new team doesn’t need a new manager who will take the glory for their work.
They need a leader who understands them and who will make their life easier.
And first of all, you say:
“Hello, I’m Dmytro, I am your new project manager BUT…”
But keep in mind you don’t want to use your formal authority from the start! And with this “but”, you remove this formal part and continue to position yourself as a leader.
And you can say something like:
“…BUT I like to think of myself as a part of the team who helps you to do your best job. I am here to remove all the distractions and help you to apply your best expertise. People like you don’t need a manager, you just need some guidance with processes and workflows.”
Follow Up With Your Key Leadership Principles
You can add two or three points here.
For example, you may say something like:
“I believe in eight hours workday and my priority would be to ensure that your personal life will not suffer from my professional decisions.”
I recommend you to highlight your key leadership principles here.
It should be something that you strongly believe in and something that you will be able to implement in real life.
Next, Give a Praise to the Team
In the next point of your speech, you need to give praise to your new team. That’s something that you learn in advance.
You can say something as simple as:
“I heard you did a great job for two years before me, so you know what to do. You are the experts here.”
Ensure That You Will Not Make Dramatic Changes
And the next step is to ensure that there won’t be any dramatic or unexpected changes to the way they work on this project.
And you can say something like:
“I will need your support for the first few weeks and then we’ll work together to make this project the best one in the company.”
Wrap Your Speech, Keep it Short
And after that, you want to start wrapping up your speech and say something like:
“I want to speak personally with every one of you.”
And believe me, if your team is under 50 persons, it’s still feasible to do in one or two days.
I strongly recommend you to do this because it’s the most powerful thing that I discovered in the latest years. I’ll show you how it works below.
Make Yourself Available for Conversation
The last thing you need to do is to show them:
“Here is my place. I’ll be sitting here. You can come up with any problem that you have. I’m open for any discussion.”
That’s the format for your speech, and you need to prepare it in advance.
6 Tips on How to Prepare Yourself for Introduction to a New Team
You need to prepare yourself for this speech.
Let me give you a few tips on how to do it.
1. Be Confident, Do Some Training in Advance
It goes without saying that you need to position yourself as a confident leader and to do this speech confidently, you need to train yourself.
So give this speech to yourself in the mirror and see if you are confident about telling each point of it.
2. Speak Loud Enough
Next, you need to ensure that you speak not too loud, not too quiet.
You should be loud enough so that everyone in the room can hear you.
3. Wave Your Hands to Greet Everyone
Next, when you start your speech and introduce yourself, you need to wave with your both hands like these to the whole team:
Yes, it looks a bit silly.
But believe me, on a subconscious level, people will trust and hear you out better then you will put your hand somewhere in the pockets.
4. Use Gestures to Reinforce Your Speech
You need to use your hands to gesture when you introduce yourself.
You can do some gestures like the whole team, duration, big, small projects and so on. So do use your hands.
5. Smile Broadly
Don’t forget to smile at least at the beginning, and the end.
You need to smile with your all teeth, like this:
6. Maintain Eye Contact With the Whole Team
Last but not least, you should maintain eye contact with your team.
How do you do it if you have 20 persons in the room?
You give a bit of attention to everyone.
Stay focused with your eye contact with one person for three to five seconds. Then switch to another. While you stand there in the room, do switch your eye contact with each person.
If you want to know more about how to make the best first impression possible and how to win people in general, I recommend the book named Captivate by Vanessa van Edwards.
PRO Technique: Personal Introduction to a New Team
Now we’ll talk about this powerful Technique of the Individual Introduction to your team members.
After that, I will tell you how to introduce yourself to the stakeholders of the project and to the clients of the project.
Biggest Mistake to Avoid During First Few Days on a New Project
There is one mistake that many project managers do on a new project during their first few days:
They focus too much on the processes, state of the project, and the communication that they need to review.
They don’t focus on people.
You want to position yourself as a leader.
That’s why I recommend you to spend these first few days with your new team members by asking them three simple questions.
It takes five to seven minutes per person maximum.
So here’s what you want to ask:
- What do you do on the project?
- What do you like about the project?
- And what don’t you like about this project, and is there a way I can fix it?
The first two questions will help you to learn more about your new team members. The last one will help you to gain a quick win in the coming weeks.
Here’s the trick:
The majority of your new team members won’t have any serious problems and you will be able to fix some of them in the coming weeks.
This way you will show that you care about them, that you are proactive, that you can solve problems for them and that you are part of the team.
Likewise, this short conversation will open up and give you an opportunity to communicate more with these people. Maybe during a coffee break, you can ask more personal questions to learn more about your team members.
How to Introduce Yourself to Other Project Stakeholders
How to introduce yourself to people that were not in the room here.
And the process here is similar:
You need to ask your boss to send an email and introduce you as a project manager. Then, you will follow up with your email where you will introduce yourself from the perspective of a leader.
If these stakeholders are collocated in one office, you DO WANT to meet them in person.
But you again want to ask someone to introduce you to these people.
On this personal meeting, you ask the same three questions:
- What do they do on the project?
- What do they like about the project?
- What are the main challenges that they see from their perspective in regards to this project that you should be aware of?
Note it down!
It’s crucial information about your project.
Okay, let’s move on.
How to Introduce Yourself to Clients and Sponsors of the Project
How do you introduce yourself to clients and sponsors of your projects, as well as to other main stakeholders?
Again, the process is similar:
Someone needs to introduce you first, then you follow up with your personal introduction.
I do recommend that you do it in person if possible. If they are overseas for sure do make a video call. Let them see you and your expressions and watch for their expressions.
It will make better contact.
However, what you say to them after your introduction is a bit different from what you say to your team members.
You need to focus on business aspects that these clients value the most. 👇
- Do they need more transparency from the project work?
- Do they want more efficiency and save some money?
- Do they want some extra value that your team can provide?
And second, do ask about the challenges that you can fix right now
If they have no challenges and they say nothing about it – do ensure them that you will put your most efforts in delivering projects for them on time and within budget.
You need to spell it out!👆
Last but not least.
Plan Regular Meetings With New Clients Right after Introduction
I do recommend you plan regular meetings with your clients and sponsors in the future. You need to do it right at the first meeting.
During this initial period, you want to control the expectation and perception of your work on a daily basis.
If possible, do communicate with them for a few minutes every day. If not at least several times a week.
Don’t leave it all for email communications where you don’t see their emotions and expressions.
Introduction to a new project team shouldn’t be scary or complex. Just follow these process and you will build great relationships with your team from day number one.