I’ve been in a few situations lately where I’m the new person and I’m not sure what to do. I’ve seen others avoid these situations because it’s often uncomfortable to be unsure of the next steps. I used to think that I was the same way, but I’ve realized that I do know what to do and I’m comfortable getting what I need – so if I’m new or I’m the expert, I’m making the best of the situation.
Even if you’re new, you can be more organized in managing this situation. I encourage you to consider these strategies that have worked for me:
Get Comfortable Asking Questions
Our family has recently started attending a new weekly gathering. We’re comfortable with the topic, but unfamiliar with the venue. When we arrive on week one, we need information to do things the right way. So, my first response is, “Let me ask someone.” and I walk up to the volunteer I see and literally say, “Hi, I’m new here and have a few questions to help me get the information I need.”
Turns out, that strategy is exactly what I needed to get the information I needed. Go figure.
I’ve spent a lot of time in my life helping new people feel comfortable in a new situation. It was enjoyable to have the situation reversed and when I treated it like a task to be accomplished – I was right in my comfort zone.
It’s ok to be the new person. It’s ok to ask questions. Think about a new environment you’ll be visiting soon and what you need to know – then confidently ask questions to get the information you need. I’m serious that it works.
Find The Expert And Use Their Knowledge
I love it when I’m asked to share my knowledge or opinions and I know many others are the same. When you are in a new situation, don’t start at the beginning – stack the deck in your favor – and start with the expert. With a simple question or conversation, you can make a new connection, learn valuable information and jump-start your process the right way.
It’s ok to be unfamiliar with something new. It’s ok to use the resources available to you. Think about an area of your life that you could use “expert knowledge” and think about who you know (or could meet) that could help get you started. The power of an informational conversation is more valuable than most realize at first blush. I encourage you to try it soon.
Make It A Game
I teach a class in the fall at our university and am working on helping my college students master public-speaking skills. Instead of telling them the concept they’ll be learning, we play games in class. The students seem to be more engaged and have fun throughout the entire class period. And then, during wrap-up, I tell them the skill they’ve just learned as part of the game.
Last week the class topic was “Meeting New People,” which can be a terrifying experience for most. I’ll admit it was never my favorite – I always struggle with what to talk about. But then, a few years ago, something clicked and now it’s much easier. I love to interview and when I thought about meeting new people as a chance to interview someone, I really started to enjoy the chance to meet people.
It’s ok to do things that terrify you. And it’s also ok to change your perspective to make it fun. Think about your strengths and what you can learn in your situation – then make it a game to work through the process. It’s worked for me and it can work for you.
New situations are still a challenge for me, but I’ve learned to use my organization strengths to make the most of my situation. Because of this perspective shift, I’ve become more confident and can navigate newness much better. You’ll grow by trying new things. Make a plan now and you’ll make the progress you deserve.