by: Lucy Fortune
8:15 AM: Walking through the Fresh Admin doors, I am greeted at the heel by Dog-in-Residence, MoMo. I allow for his unabashed excitement and curly tan fur to pierce the Monday blues where coffee was failing to do so. Quickly re-energized by an inbox full of “To-Do List” material, I am reminded of one of the most important lessons I have learned as a Fresh intern:
How to communicate in a professional setting in a manner that prompts action from others.
Seems easy enough, right? I told myself so during the first few weeks of my project, as I sent email after email signed with the plagued title “Intern”—an immediate disqualifier in the eyes of many. Responses were often delayed, and even more often sent me on a subsequent treasure hunt for the appropriate contact. “This is a question for (most definitely not the person I originally asked)” became the most common email to grace my inbox.
After a few weeks, this communication failure began to impact the likelihood of my project’s successful completion. I came to recognize my own dependency on input from GMs, designers, marketing and catering specialists on a near-daily basis.
As students, we are accustomed to our success being almost entirely dependent on our own hard work and dedication. The professional world, on the contrary, depends upon a hoard of moving pieces: project approvals from superiors, best-practice suggestions from experts, and instructions from managers. In attempt to synthesize these fragments, I compiled a short list of communication rules:
- Connect with the right individuals, the first time around (when possible).
- Be brief, but don’t forget the necessary information.
- Recognize when you need to help, rather than delaying the process in attempt to solve everything yourself.
- When in doubt, CALL!
Immediately after implementing these general guidelines, my efforts prompted more frequent, expedited responses from necessary contacts. I reduced the amount of time spent clarifying details, head-hunting the appropriate sources, and sitting in limbo awaiting responses. While success is still highly dependent on individual hard work and attention to detail, successful communication is half of the game.