Gaining a New Perspective

An Intern's Point of View

Take a walk in someone else’s shoes.”

This is a phrase we hear often. It is especially relevant for communication practitioners who step into the metaphorical shoes of their client in order to understand their point of view. It’s also used to see through the lens of a target audience to identify the best approach to reach them. But when was the last time you looked at something from the eyes of an intern? 

I had the great fortune to be a corporate communications intern at Fahlgren Mortine for seven months. Yes, that’s longer than normal. But it was an interesting opportunity to experience the agency on a deeper level than most interns. It gave me perspective on, well, perspective. As an intern you have the unique standpoint of being fully immersed while also still being an outsider. You have enough context for things to make sense but you’re not clouded by detail and other responsibilities that may be distracting your stream of thought. You’re also particularly observant because how else will you learn about the industry? Acknowledging this perspective and leveraging it in the various projects that I worked on helped me contribute something unique to the internship. But harnessing the perspective of an intern could also be utilized by professionals. Seeing aspects of your work from the eyes of an intern could help you see things from a new angle that could help you.

Channeling an intern’s perspective could also be applied when reflecting on yourself and how you work as a professional. Interns are often young and new to the professional world making them quite impressionable when it comes to understanding work culture and behavior. With just a few years of experience, interns pick up on cues of professional behavior quickly from those they work with and will probably mimic (or sometimes avoid) those behaviors throughout their careers. We often think of impressions in the professional world as making a good impression for peers or superiors. But what about making an impression for those who are simply there to learn from you? Take a moment to reflect on your own work behavior and think – are you leading in a way that leaves a positive impact on an intern? How would an intern perceive you? Keeping this point of view in mind could help you become the type of leader or role model that you aspire to be. Luckily for me, I was surrounded by people who inspired me every day at Fahlgren Mortine.

So I challenge you to take a step back and look at your work or yourself from the perspective of an intern. You might just discover something new. Then again, who am I to challenge you on something? After all, I was just an intern.

 

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