Brainstorms are a major component of working on a team in any PR agency. They are the times when team members come together, get their creative juices flowing and generate winning ideas for their clients. Often times it is intimidating for interns to speak up during a brainstorm, especially when they are surrounded by experienced, senior level PR professionals. A common question that interns wonder is “how can I significantly contribute to a team brainstorm?”
To help ease your worries, I have put together 5 helpful tips to combat those feelings of nervousness and allow you to be a shining star:
It is important to research the topic surrounding the brainstorm prior to walking into the meeting for a couple of reasons. First, you should be knowledgeable about what you will be discussing in the meeting. Second, you should have a mini-brainstorm with yourself in order to crank up your creativity. In addition, bringing your research and sharing it with team members while you are stating an idea provides them with a visual of what you are trying to convey.
Although you have already conducted research into the brainstorm topic, it is necessary to listen to what your team members are saying during the meeting. This allows you to learn more about the topic from fellow team members and learn how your ideas will fit in with the direction that the team is going. It also allows you to build off of others’ ideas.
- Be Proactive
In brainstorms, next steps and to-do’s are often called out from multiple team members. The number one way to stand out as an intern is to be proactive. Whether asked to help or not, just volunteer and be the first one in the room to raise your hand to take ownership of tasks.
- Respect your team members
As an intern, you aren’t expected to know everything about PR or the client. Showcase your talents in a respectable manner that shows your willingness to learn, but does not seem obnoxious. Allow your team members to speak and do not talk over them. Brainstorms are a sharing of ideas, not a competition.
- Bring something to the table
The saying, “it is better to have something, than nothing at all” applies in this scenario. One thoroughly researched and creative idea can set you apart. In order to make your mark in a brainstorm, challenge yourself with the notion that the quality of the idea is worth more than the quantity of the ideas.
Show your team that you are a valuable team player. Use brainstorms as a time to shine, don’t let your intimidation outshine you.
-Alexandra Ebanks, Porter Novelli Atlanta
As the only intern in the Los Angeles office, I’ve had the opportunity to work on both consumer and healthcare initiatives. However, the most valuable exercise I’ve done is talk to everyone in the office about their career path.
Here are five pieces of valuable advice for any PR intern from the good people here at PN LA:
- Be your own advocate. An account executive told me that only you can speak out for your strengths, limitations, needs, etc… A VP added, “Communication is the key to all the teamwork required in this, and for any other, business! Take advantage of the resources around you.”
- Take every task as a learning experience. Sometimes, the work that’s assigned to anyone from interns to account supervisors isn’t the most fabulous or glamorous – but take it upon yourself to look for the opportunity to grow from it.
- Don’t postpone joy. Yes, work hard, it’s the only way to get ahead and get the most out of your job and yourself, but according to this VP, a little laughter makes the journey much better.
- Ask questions. Inquisitiveness is necessary for a good PR professional. Wanting to know more – and asking for more responsibility – is a sign of enthusiasm and investment in your craft.
- Appreciate the highs and lows. Sometimes, business can be crazy and hectic and stressful. Other times, the day can be slow. Showing adaptability as well as a calm demeanor through thick and thin will make you last and appreciate life at an agency.
-Clare Sayas, Porter Novelli Los Angeles