Communication Planning, Asking for Support – Eric’s Story

Goal without plan I’m Eric Philippou, and I’m writing this blog as part of my college internship at Metcalf & Associates. In the last post, we established criteria, determined support team members, and their roles based on our specific development goals. In this post, we will manage our communication, timing, and expectations for different types of support team relationships. We will also discuss how to effectively reach out to potential team members who you don’t already know, and emphasize the value of an internship as a formal mentorship.

Communication Planning

Complete the Communication Planning Worksheet below, using the Support Team Worksheet you completed in the last post.

Communication Worksheet - Eric

Reaching out to Potential Supporters

Carefully read the criteria and do the exercises. In the both the support team and communication planning worksheets, make an extra column on the side for specific people who would be ideal for each goal. Right now it may say “a family member” or “someone in my dorm”, but get more specific. For each type of goal, write down as many specific people you know who would fit that role, even if you do have not introduced yourself to that person yet. Think of family, friends, classmates, people in your dorm and co-workers. If you are looking for mentorship for a professional goal, consider professionals in a related field, or even professors who teach that. If you don’t know many professionals, then consider an internship.

After completing this, prepare to approach these people. If you already know them well, kindly contact them how you normally would; however, if you have not introduced yourself, be a bit more careful. Look for an opportunity where you will run into them, contact them via social media or email, or have a mutual friend introduce each other if possible.

Internships – Ideal Professional Mentorship

If you’re having difficulty finding a professional mentor, an internship is one of the best ways to do this, plus there are countless other benefits that an internship brings. Ideally, you do work for a company that aligns with your professional goals, while receiving feedback and mentorship from someone within the company. Other benefits may include financial rewards, valuable experience, additions to resume, letters of recommendation, networking and so much more. Before you start an internship, communicate your mentorship goals to your superiors/co-workers. Obtaining an internship may seem difficult and competitive, but it doesn’t have to be if you take certain approaches.

While career fairs and job listing websites are a great way to get an internship at a “big name” company, they are the most competitive way. Consider this: for every “big name” company you see at a career fair, there may be a dozen small and local companies in your area that do the same thing. These smaller companies don’t have the time or resources to recruit at a career fair or job website, and many of these companies don’t even realize they need an intern. Do a search of companies in your area that do what you want to do, look on their website for an email address, and don’t be afraid to politely reach out to them. Smaller companies can benefit from your help more, which increases their likelihood to accept you as well as give you more responsibility and hands-on experience, thus you learn more. Another perk is that the owner of the company may have worked at a big name company in the industry for a long time, and is extremely skilled, experienced and connected, which is why they are confident enough to start their own company. In summary, getting in internship in your desired industry is one of the best things you can possibly do while in college. Go get one!

Now you have a great understanding of how to select and communicate with your ideal support team. In the next post, we will answer reflection questions to further refine our understanding of building and communicating with our support team.

To become a more innovative leader, you can begin by taking our free leadership assessments and then enrolling in our online leadership development program.

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Photo credit: Celestine Chua

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