Congratulations! You got accepted to that guild you wanted to join!! How do you make sure your initiation period is successful? Below are some tips to try and pitfalls to avoid to make sure you move from "Who the heck is that?" to "Gee what did we ever do without you?"
Avoid making it the "Me Show" - I know you're worried about making an impression, but sit back and observe for a little while. First watch the others in the guild and the guild chat and make sure this is a place you want to be. By getting a feel for what the guild chat and members are normally like, you can learn what's generally accepted banter and who's more sensitive. You can use this information to make a good impression, rather than just an impression. Once you've watched long enough, start slow. Add an insightful or funny point to an existing conversation and add to what they are saying rather than changing the topic. After a little while it'll be easy for you to slid into a conversation or even start one of your own.
Even though I've cautioned you about not making it the "Me Show" do be yourself. If you try and pretend to be someone you're not or curb your bad habit of letting puns loose it will slowly wear you out or slip out on it's own. Let the guild see your quirky personality traits as you slowly introduce yourself, it's what makes you different from everyone else.
Know your Leaders - Quickly learn who the leaders are, what they do and how they do it. Every leader has a different personality and a different way of interacting. While the best leaders are willing to take feedback, the way you approach them will determine how willing they are to listen to you. In the end, if you and an officer disagree, take a guess who's going to win? To illustrate how not knowing who your leaders are and how they interact can hurt you, let me tell you the story of an initiate who didn't make it in The Guild.
Once upon a time Auz tagged a shaman. Now Auz is a generous leader and so one day when our guild's enhancement shaman had to take a night off, Auz lent her new shaman to the melee team. Once in the melee group, our melee lead said, "New shaman please drop Windfury for the melee team." The shaman said, "I think Grace of Air is the better totem to drop for this group, so that's what I'm going to drop." The melee lead responded with, "I'd prefer that you drop Windfury and since I'm melee I believe I have a better understanding of which totem will benefit us." To which the shaman retorted, "Too bad they are my totems and I'll drop what I want!" At this point our melee lead ended the conversation and came to me. "Auz your new shaman is not only an idiot but he's also refusing to do what I asked." After getting the whole story from my melee lead my new shaman receives the following tell from me, "The player you are speaking with is our melee lead. If you wish to be successful in our guild, you will respect all the leaders of this guild and drop the totems you are requested to drop as well as the attitude." The shaman did drop those totems, but never did drop the atti0tude. Needless to say, his initiation period with us did not end in membership.
Do your homework - I spend a lot of time making sure the information my recruits need is available to them on our website. I typed it out there so I only had to type it once. Nothing irritates me more than when an initiate fails to respect that time and the time of the 24 other people in the raids by failing to read the information I have provided. Even if your leadership hasn't explained the fights, Boss Killers, MMO Champion and several other sites have.* Take your time and read all the information that is available to you. After you've read that information if you still have questions ask them before the raid. When you are coming into a new situation make it your responsibility to know what you're doing before you get there. Bonus points if you can get that accomplished without taking a guild leader's time.
*Note there are many different ways to kill the same boss, when you read over a third party site, don't get married to the strategy they suggest. Do make sure you learn the boss abilities and go over the tips that are specific to your role.
Mind the feedback - I've said it before but I believe it so strongly that I want to say it again:
Receiving honest communication from a [person] is a gift, even if you don't like what the [person] has to say. When a [person] comes to you with something on their mind, they are creating an opportunity for you. If you make them feel like they aren't being heard, or worse derive them for their opinions, you ensure they won't give you another.
If you get feedback from a leader, listen to it; make an effort to incorporate what they've said to you into your playstyle. If you don't agree with the feedback you've received, the time to ask questions or disagree is outside of raid times. Remember, most leaders are promoted to that position because they have experience and a deep knowledge base. It can never hurt to at least try what they've suggested. Who knows, maybe they know something that you don't. Remember it's okay to disagree, but in the end the person with the final say is your leadership. If you find that you disagree too much you may want to look for a new home or you may be asked to look for a new home. Honestly, I'd like to think I'm an approachable and reasonable person, but if giving you feedback becomes a chore for me, I'm more likely to look for someone else who's more receptive to feedback, even if their initial skill set is weaker.
Make a friend - Auz, this is too far, I wanna know how to do well in a raiding environment, not how to make friends. Random internet reader, I promise you this is good for both. While you're watching your guild (like I suggested at the beginning of this post) I want you to find two people. First find the person in your class role who everyone respects but isn't an officer. Next find the person who everyone likes and enjoys talking to. Then go to both of them and ask questions. You've read the strat for the next boss and you're not sure you understand it. Ask the person in your class, often they can coach you and are flattered that you've asked them. This takes the strain off your leaders who may be doing other things and makes you look good for knowing it without having to go to them. Just choose wisely, picking a bad person to use as a resource may end up making you look worse than if you hadn't asked anyone at all. Okay Auz, I see the wisdom in that, but what about this popular person? I'm glad you asked, while you are getting used to your new guild you're going to have to learn to interact with new people. If you need to give feedback to a leader or even another member, the popular person probably knows how best to approach that person. They wouldn't be popular if they didn't know how to talk to the other members of the guild. (Though if it's a chick and you're not a chick, you might not be able to use all their tricks) Ask for this person's help when you need tips on how to approach your new teammates.
Now it's your turn, tell me your horror stories either from the perspective of evaluating an initiate or from the perspective of being an initiate