When I first started out as an intern, I expected to be doing the usual interny things: coffee, copies, trying to be as invisible as possible. Having worked at AuthenticMatters for around six months now, I’m happy to report that that hasn’t been the case. I’ve had the opportunity to do some pretty cool stuff—and I’ve learned a lot along the way…
- You can still be professional and have a personality. From both what I’ve learned in the classroom and the corporate communications experience I’ve had through other internships, it’s been drilled into my head that being professional is synonymous with being boring. But through my experience here at AuthenticMatters, I’ve learned that doesn’t have be so. Particularly in emails and writing, it’s better to be a little bold. Typical business correspondence is dull and forgettable (which makes sense, because everyone else is doing it too). If you want to be remembered or get someone’s attention, be different and create context. Business communication needs to be a blend of art and science.
- The worst thing that can possibly happen is that someone says no—and let them be the one to do it. There’s no point in saying no to yourself before you even give something a shot. So reach out to someone, tweet at them, whatever. Who knows? Maybe you or your client are exactly what they’re looking for. Even if nothing becomes of it, at least you took a shot and got your name in their inbox. There’s no use in boxing yourself in from fear of a less-than-ideal outcome.
- Finally, what I’ve learned in school has created a strong foundation on top of which I am building real world experience. And it’s that real world experience that is real education. One of the most important things I’ve learned at AuthenticMatters is communication context. Since every communication situation—from an email to Dave to a phone call with a client—is pursuing a unique outcome, you have to adapt and modify your communication to achieve its specific purpose. One situation might call for buttoned up formalities because that’s what will elicit the right response. For another, it might be totally appropriate to be entirely casual. Even school has a context (and it’s very different than the real world). Like I said, the classroom laid the foundation, but the real world is where you get the education. And what I’ve learned about communication context is going to be pretty useful.