By Emily O'Brien
December 17, 2020
(Virtual) Communication is Key
Welcome to part 2 of my “Chronicles of a Quarintern” series! We are about 4 weeks into my time at Lee & London Public Relations and I couldn’t be happier with how it's going! In the past 4 weeks I have gotten so much hands-on experience and my skills have been challenged in more ways than ever before. Granted, I also have experienced some of the obstacles that come with a virtual setting, which I am gonna get into in this blog post.
“Communication is key” – we have all heard the saying at one point or another. What I’ve come to realize is that this saying rings true not only for verbal communication, but virtual as well. What do I mean by that? Well, the biggest challenge that the virtual format has presented for me so far is embracing virtual communication, as much as I embrace in-person communication. Specifically, not being afraid to communicate with the rest of the team when I need clarification on a project or task, or want to ensure I’m on track.
Ever since I was in high school I have been a question-asker. You know the type, the person who raises their hand after every single thing the teacher says, usually someone who never stops talking (literally just never shuts up) – yeah that’s me. Yet for some reason at the start of my time at Lee and London I had this idea in my head that I was being annoying or pushy when I would ask questions. Entirely off-brand (as I like to say) from the usual 20 questions game I like to play with just about anyone I speak to. Maybe it was because I was sending instant messages or email, rather than face to face interaction, so I felt like I was spamming people rather than having a normal conversation, or maybe I was just nervous because I’ve never worked in a professional environment like this before. Whatever it may have been, I let this fear of not wanting to ask questions get in my head, and it impacted my work performance. I was making silly mistakes that could have easily been solved just by asking a question.
"Don't be afraid to be curious"
The funny part of it all is that the team at Lee and London stressed how questions are always welcome and they are here to help. Yet, I still let my fear of looking stupid hold me back. Eventually, I caved and began to unapologetically ask questions (after I knew I was not going to find the answer on my own) and I am SO happy I did. Not only did I feel like my normal obsessive question asking self again (PHEW), but team members welcomed my questions with open arms, and gave me so much valuable insight on how I could produce the best work possible. Asking questions was the best thing I could do to ensure that I get the most out of this internship. As one of my professors once told me, the key is to ask as many questions as you want, just don’t ask any of the same questions.
Bottom line, don’t be afraid to be curious. Virtual format prohibits in-person interaction from happening, but it does not have to stop communication. With the state of the world being the way that it is, virtual internships and jobs are a very likely possibility for the future, and it’s best to adapt to it now, rather than further down the line. I truly am so grateful to be working with an agency that encourages you to be the question-asker and does not shame anyone for being curious. You know how the saying goes, (Virtual) communication is key – don’t be afraid of it, embrace it!