Introducing yourself to your stakeholders early on can help you achieve your goals and objectives
Have you ever started a role in a new company and found yourself unsure how to introduce yourself to the stakeholders? Maybe you even struggle identifying who should you introduce yourself to? (you can check out this post about stakeholder analysis to help you with this process). Here are some tips on how to successfully do the introductions.
Why should you introduce yourself?
When starting your role in a new company it is important to do these three steps:
- Ask you boss what is your job purpose – go beyond job description and focus on what your boss actually wants you to achieve
- Use your colleagues’ knowledge and ask questions – who has a skill that you can learn from? What can they tell you about the team, job, your boss? Do they have insights about your stakeholders? And most important – what’s the best place to get lunch around the office?
- Meet your stakeholders – engage with them as soon as possible, introduce yourself and learn about their jobs. This will be a great head start later on!
Meeting your stakeholders and learning about them from the start can be a great asset to your career in the company as well as making your life significantly easier. Knowing who is who, what kind of personality they have, and what projects are they running in their teams, can help you establish how can you best serve them.
However, in order to build a good relationship, you need to present yourself as an expert and show them the benefits of working with you.
Why is introduction important?
Imagine, if I were your neighbor and came to you and said ‘Listen, why don’t you give me your money and I will buy all your furniture. I promise it’s going to be great!’. You would think I am nuts, right?
So why do we expect this to be fine at work?
I have spent almost 10 years working in procurement, sourcing lots of different products and services for a range of different businesses. I have seen my colleagues stepping into a category and doing exactly the above! ‘Here is a great supplier, we should spend your budget there, they have the most competitive pricing.’ But as they haven’t done the introduction, and didn’t build the relationship, they were hitting a wall, unless the higher management supported them. (and then faced a lot of resentment from the actual stakeholders, who – very often – tried to hide from them their future purchases).
This works in a similar way in other industries too! Imagine you are a marketing manager who just stepping into a new company and needs to convince the business to market in a certain way or a business analyst who challenges processes.
Without having established a good relationship, the work you will be doing will be tedious and could potentially make you feel like you can’t accomplish anything.
How to prepare for the introduction?
Here are some simple steps that you could take to smash the introduction.
- ask your boss who to talk to – they have been in the company longer than you (hopefully) and are operating on the higher level of the business. Use them to get to the key players who can be make or break in the future for your projects, or career progression.
- write a list of your accomplishments in the recent years – focus on some big wins that the stakeholder you will talk to might be interested in.
- think about what you do in your role – write 3 main points of what you are supposed to do for the business, to give the stakeholder understanding with which areas you can be of help
- think about your business-related interests – maybe you are fascinated by sustainability? Change management? Managing people?
- is there any impressive roles or companies on your resume – write them down
- write down one fun fact not related to work – it can be your hobby, your family, dog or pretty much anything to give a bit more personal touch to the conversation
Once you have focused on your side of the story, think about what would you like to find out from the stakeholder?
- how long have they been in the company?
- have they been in the same role since the start?
- who is their team, what do they do?
- what are their biggest challenges recently?
- has pandemic changed anything in their area? Did they have to adjust how they operate?
- what are their plans for the next 12 months? Any projects they are excited about?
Think of anything else, that could help you understand their challenges and position in the company.
Hopefully, by now you have done the most important things: you have spoken to your boss, you have thought about your role and your recent achievements and you thought about what would you like to know from the stakeholder at hand.
With that in mind, make a decision if you can introduce yourself to the stakeholder at hand, or should it be your boss making the introduction? Regardless, type up an introduction email (if it is your boss introducing you, this will be helpful for them, so they have an email ready to send) highlighting your achievements and a brief summary of your role in the company.
If it was your boss introducing you, follow up with a request for a meeting (no more than 30 minutes) or ask to meet up directly in your first email, if you are introducing yourself.
Before the meeting, write down some highlights. You can use PowerPoint if that doesn’t feel too official in your business (in some places it might). If you do go the PowerPoint route, stick to one page.
In the intro make sure you include:
- maximum 3 accomplishments from the recent years, relevant to the stakeholder’s field
- 3 points about your role in the business
- one main business-related interest
- one to two impressive roles/companies from your resume
- fun fact about yourself
If you have done the exercise from the previous chapter, you will have a full list of accomplishments, interests, etc that you can choose from and adapt to each stakeholder you will be meeting. Remain genuine and share what you have done and what you are passionate about, but remember that some achievements or interests might resonate better with different people.
Introduce yourself with ease
I hope that following these simple steps will help you introduce yourself to the business. Let me know in the comments, if this helped or if you would like me to expand on any of the points above.