#FFORCE Files: 5 Things I Learned by Making Mistakes
August 31, 2016
Interning is a fantastic way to get hands-on experience and learn first-hand about how a public relations agency works. As a journalism graduate, I didn’t know a heck of a lot about PR, but I knew it interested me. Securing an internship with FAULHABER was my answer to both learning about the industry and seeing if it would be a good fit.
You learn a lot as an intern, but with learning comes mistakes. As terrible as it feels to make them, it is unavoidable because it’s part of human nature. I’m actually glad I make mistakes though, because you know what? I learn a lot from them. Some of the most beneficial learning outcomes I have taken away are from when I have failed. This kind of learning is being embraced more and more today, as influential people tell us of their past mistakes and failures. Take for example founder and CEO of Spanx, Sara Blakely, who has often spoken about how her father encouraged her to fail (watch a quick clip here). What I’m trying to say, is don’t be afraid to fail at something, especially when it’s your first time. You will gather useful information and use it to become better and more insightful than you were before. That’s really what interning is all about!
With that being said, FAULHABER has been a great place to learn. My mentors here help to pinpoint my errors, discuss where I can improve, and assist in developing solutions to any situation. There is nothing better than being part of a supportive environment.
Here are five learnings I have taken away from making mistakes as an intern:
1. Always think something 100% through before finalizing
Even the smallest task required of you in a PR agency can have a big end result. Whether it has something to do with how a client, media, or influencer perceives the business, or how a client’s customers perceive them, everything you do, could have bigger consequences than you think.
2. Never stop paying attention to the closest of details
This ties into my first point: no detail is too small to be overlooked. PR is truly about striving to obtain perfection and ensuring that everything is done the best way it can be done. Even if it is just the formatting of a document, adjectives used in a client e-mail, or the way a mailer is packaged, each of these small details speaks volumes about the quality of your work.
3. Take full ownership of your projects and manage up
In a PR agency there are many channels of communication between respective Account Execs, Coordinators and yourself and this sometimes means that things can fall through the gaps. So it’s important to consistently manage your projects and follow up with those overseeing them. The people above you have a significant amount on their plates, so make their lives easier and do your part by being thorough and on top of things.
4. Speak up when given the opportunity to do so
As much as you are there to learn, the agency also has the opportunity to learn from you: a fresh pair of eyes that may have noticed something they haven’t. If given the opportunity to make a comment or offer a suggestion, take it. Even if it’s not your best idea, it’s better to speak up and show that you’re willing to engage in the conversation.
5. Make little notes to yourself, even if you think you won’t forget something
In PR, stuff is coming at you from all angles, and because you’re learning, it’s not always easy to remember everything that comes your way. Take pressure off your brain and write it down. Make lists, stick little sticky-notes to the side of your computer, highlight things in crazy colours - do whatever works best for you in order to stay on top of your work and remember those small, but important details that can make all the difference.
I hope this helps to eliminate some of your future mistakes. Don’t worry, you’ll make plenty of your own! Remember, you’ll benefit from making them, so don’t be afraid. It’s all in the journey on the way to success.