Here are four fool-proof tips to give you a leg up!
Sit back and take it all in: Your first week or two (or three) on the job is the perfect time to get a feel for the team culture and dynamic. Who’s “the boss”? What should an intern be doing in a meeting? Does everyone bring a notebook and pencil? Does everyone in the room contribute something to the conversation? It’s your job to test the waters and learn the social norms within the group -- it will help you determine your place on the team.
Offer up your opinion or advice: If it’s acceptable [in your office] to offer advice, input and ideas in team meetings (hopefully it is!!), start small. Make note of times where ideas are valued or appropriate to share and offer something small that will show your colleagues that you’re listening and thinking about the problem at hand. Ideas and opinions can easily be ignored if you’re abrasive or over-share so be strategic with your timing. You want everyone to turn their heads and be pleasantly surprised when you share a thoughtful insight.
Understand that you may be the most junior person in the room: You’re probably going to be the most junior person in the room… with the exception of the other interns. This gives you a leg up since you’re at the table with some industry experts. However, know that they may ignore your idea or tell you that they think you’re wrong. That’s okay, own it, keep learning and next time you’ll be ready.
But most importantly...
Show up. Every time: Whether it’s a meeting, lunch, outing or hangout at the local restaurant after work...GO. If you’re the intern that comes to work at 9, leaves at 5 and doesn’t show up to anything but the required meetings, you’re going to be “that intern” that’s doing the bare minimum. Let these people get to know you personally, it will make it easier to contribute and definitely make you feel more at home with your team.