Career progression

How to break the ice and build rapport quickly at your new workplace

by Hudson

First day of work can sometimes be a tad overwhelming. Not only are you tasked with learning everything about your new role, but you also need to learn the name of your colleagues, their roles and how the organisation runs.

To help you ease into your new workplace, here are some ice breakers so you can learn the ropes and get to know your team mates faster.

  1. Rehearse your story

    Get ready to give a 30-second explainer of who you are and what you do.

    Having well-prepared answers to easy questions will help you feel less stressed as you have a go-to story. One of the best ways to summarise who you are and what you do is through remembering this simple formula “name, same and fame”.

    According to Duncan Fish, author of “Engage”, you should start with your name, then “same” -- the job title which people can relate to and finally, “fame” -- what you are known for in your field (Fish, D. 2017, “ Engage”). These kinds of introductions are great as they can pave the way for longer conversations.

  2. Be the one to say “hi” first

    It’s an oldie but a goodie. Often, in bigger organisations, it’s hard to tell if someone’s new or have been there months and you just never noticed. Usually, they are wondering the same about you and unsure about introducing themselves.

    Be the first to extend your hand to every new face you meet on the day (and week). This is a great way to making a great first impression, too.

  3. The organisational chart is your friend

    By familiarising yourself with the departments, teams and titles, you’ll find it easier to remember the names and faces. It’s also a good idea to look up some of your new colleague’s LinkedIn profiles and connect with them.

    You can use their profile to ask them about their previous experiences and credentials.

  4. Observe how things are done

    Each workplace has its own rules and culture that may be unspoken. Whether it’s about work processes, finding out who has the networks or makes the purchases, take your first few weeks to see how interactions and projects get carried out at your new workplace.

  5. Give it time

    New starters often put a lot of stress on themselves by worrying what kind of impression they’ve made in their first week. It’s normal to feel nervous but remember, no one expects you to remember everything you’ve been told in the first week. Think of it as a learning exercise. Rather than worrying about what to say, focus on learning something interesting about your new colleagues. Having a genuine interest in your colleagues will set you up for building rapport and forming a long-term relationship with them.