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What to Do When You're New: How to Be Comfortable, Confident, and Successful in New Situations Paperback – Special Edition, September 30, 2015
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"I wish the book would have been published twenty-five years ago…[it’s] all about how to be comfortable, confident, and successful in new situations." --Eric Jacobson On Management And Leadership
“Rollag presents fresh strategies for making everything new less scary, more manageable and much more rewarding.” --Joyce Lain Kennedy, Chicago Tribune/Tribune Media Services
"...just what you need to become comfortable and confident in situations where you're new to a group." --Online Searcher
"...well-organized, comprehensive book. A must-read for newcomers in all areas." --Library Journal
Have you ever felt nervous in new situations? Reluctant to introduce yourself? Afraid to ask questions? We all have. But if you let those worries stop you, you may miss out on real opportunity. Whether you’re changing jobs, joining a group, or moving to a new city, putting yourself out there enriches life and brings rewards.
What to Do When You’re New combines the author’s research with that of leading scientists to explain why we are so uneasy in new situations—and how we can learn to become more confident and successful newcomers. With practice, anyone can get better at being new. This original book opens your eyes to the necessary skills and teaches you how to:
• Overcome fears
• Make great first impressions
• Talk to strangers with ease
• Get up to speed quickly
• Connect with people wherever you go
Blending stories and insights with simple techniques and exercises, this one-of-a-kind guide will get you out of your comfort zone and trying new things in no time.
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the way things are today - at least not for people with technical skills. The environment that
tech people face today is constantly joining teams. Teams have a stated purpose and usually a
finite life. Being a member of a new team is a recurring situation. (See book "Team Genius" by
Karlgaard & Malone.)
There are some good tips in the book about introducing yourself and remembering names after
The book points out that most companies do a poor job of introducing new people and it is
up to the new person to make the most of the process.
Of course, if your company is using Microsoft SharePoint, a good implementation of the "My Sites"
feature gives anyone with access a searchable database of the employees and team members.
I would not recommend this book to anyone. I've given it away for free at a public 'take a book, leave a book' table, and that's more than I would have liked to pay for it. you're better off buying one of the Harvard Business Review books on the subject.
The bulk of the text focuses on five critical skills (summed up by another reviewer here). However the book has a big heart and the underlying theme of it all is about a quiet movement from internal stress toward internal ease and generosity. I expect that this book will be a gentle, good friend for someone who has struggled with social interactions and found it hard to feel good about themself, socially.
One particular thing that interested me:
Rollag has written in a style that, all by itself, provides a deeper level of support to stressed people. He introduces each point, even the tiniest, in a very gradual manner, as if saying: “we’re going to be discussing ___”, then “the points you’ll be learning about include ___ and ___”, and then a bit later says “you’ll have time to work with the ideas of ___ and ___”. In this way, he consistently does a gradual rollout of new ideas. So in a book for people who don’t like new situations, before you know it, you feel familiar with the topic, and like there’s nothing threatening about it, and only then does he actually introduce it directly. The style doesn’t feel repetitive but simply conveys that the information is familiar and comfortable – so it’s tailor-made for people who show up to this reading already stressed. I’d recommend reading this simple book slowly and mindfully, taking time as you read to ponder your own experience.
“What to Do When You're New” arrived in my mailbox after a back-and-forth with Keith Rollag, its author. When it arrived, I was at once enthused (I had never reviewed a book before) and a little pensive (was this going to be like every other self-help book I had ever read… was it written in ATS, or in human…) much to my surprise, it was written in human. Additionally, Keith's book addressed an area commonly overlooked by many “how to self-improve” books: how to be a more adaptable introvert. Why is this interesting? Because I myself am an introvert of the highest order. Keith's book explains in plain detail the necessity of escaping the “Stone Age” role of “survivalist” and accept that networking is a necessity in modern employment society.
As an introvert, networking is draining, dealing with large groups of people is more draining. For me, the reason is because I perceive networking as “having to deal with your competition” and “potentially dropping information tidbits that should stay to the individual.” (Due to my work experience and topics that I have researched, I am very protective of what I know.) Most “self-help” books that I have read about being “new” have attacked introverts as being “one step removed from reclusive,” when in fact introverts tend to prefer making deep connections with only a few people; quality over quantity. Keith approaches introversion for what it is, a stone age-era method that was good when we as humans were constantly fighting for survival, but not good for when connecting socially is a requirement not only to advance (and gain presence in one's field), but also to just get one's foot into the door.
One major thing I liked is that rather than dump you into the actual application, it walks you through the process. It gets you ready at a pace YOU'RE comfortable at, and explains the importance of each step. Too many books, seeking to balance extroverts who jump quickly into things, just jump in. Introverts (the aimed demographic) need reasoning to thrive. WHY should I do things this way. Keith does this, and to great effect. It makes the book more “human,” while accommodating those who just cannot “jump” into things without “WHY.” It reduces my stress when things are done this way because I don't like surprises. Sure, we can't have every iota of every bit of info, but having the knowledge available helps people like me reduce fears. But above all, NETWORK! Keith explains this. It helps remove the “attrition” fear that many introverts have (introverts, again have a more “survivalistic” mentality) and provides a foundation for a “pack” with others who are like you – thus allowing for reducing the “new” feeling.
The book itself is going to be re-read on occasion when I feel a bit bleh about job hunting (or just in general). It's an easy read, it's a personable read, but it's something that – because when I am in non-native (ie: I have to interact with extroverts in a personable way) applications, I sometimes wall myself up – I will have to read repeatedly to constantly remind myself of how to manage interaction when my mind is not programmed for it. But that's not a strike against the book, that's just how my mind works due to both the work environments I've had, and what I've had to do to survive personally and academically. Highly recommended if you want a read that approaches you as a person, and not as a “sub-human,” - in essence, go out and get it!
I may do a follow-up in 6 months' time.