Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Intern Strategy

Yesterday was my first day at internship! I observed two sessions, filled out paperwork, learned how to enter assessments into the computer, and most important: met a lot of people.

I consider this to be the most important thing I did all day because the relationships I build will determine my success as an intern. It is definitely important to build rapport with patients, but I would venture to say that it is more important to build a stronger rapport with your colleagues. We'll call this part one of your "Intern Strategy."

What is the Intern Strategy? Well, the title is something I just pulled off the top of my head now, but the concept has been floating around in my mind for quite some time. Its purpose is to be the best-loved intern you could be.

In part one, I am stressing the importance of learning as many names as possible throughout your building and the places you frequent. Go around within the first two days and introduce yourself to every new face you pass. Try to remember as many names as possible (repeating them as you shake hands helps), but if you you can't remember everyone, don't stress! There will be plenty of opportunities to catch them later down the road. The best thing you could do is to ask them within that first week: "I'm sorry, I've learned so many new names this week. Would you remind me of yours?" People will really appreciate a confident hand shake, smile, and hearing their name repeated aloud with "It's so nice to meet you."

That is step one of part one. Step two of part one is to continue building those relationships. You have learned their names, but you need to spend some time getting to know that person. When it does not interfere with your work (that would be bad, Intern), approach a colleague and ask them how their day is going. Hopefully that will start a conversation. Questions to get the ball rolling might include, "How long have you worked here," "What do you like most about your job," and "What is your role here?" I advise you: don't just do the minimum to get by.

These relationships will help you down the road because people will be really warm towards you and your work. They can help you find more jobs, assist clients, and make sessions run more smoothly. Plus, it feels good to have that comfortable connection with your coworkers. I do this partially because I hate walking into a building and feeling like I have to look down at my shoes awkwardly.

All in all, I am so excited about my internship. I will continue to share all my insight with you as the weeks and months progress. Happy internship!

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