4 QUESTIONS I HAVE LEARNED TO ASK
I remember my lecturer constantly encouraging us to voice our concerns every time we weren’t sure about something and reminding us that there is no such thing as a stupid question. My introduction to the PR industry confirmed this belief as I discovered that asking questions is an essential part of any learning process. Below is a series of questions that I have learned to ask throughout my internship experience and which have eased my work.
- What am I expected to do?
No one gets onto a highway without having a clear idea of where they are going. The same applies in the work environment; one cannot start working on a specific task without having a clear understanding of what is expected from them. In line with this, my internship has taught me to ask as many questions as possible beforehand and ensure that I am on the right track.
- Am I still on the right track?
Another thing that I have learned is that in PR, just like in any other field, time is extremely valuable. Undertaking a task and even almost completing it without being on the right track can sometimes result in a day completely wasted. Sometimes we should learn to stop and either return to the drawing board, which is usually the brief or simply check with other team members if we are still on the right track. This will prevent a tremendous amount of time doing the wrong thing until we are told so.
I remember few months ago, while working on a client’s account, I started designing some visual elements that were meant to be used for a function. After few hours of work, while going through the brief again with another team member, I realised that I had made a mistake. Fortunately, this was spotted before I had spent (and ultimately lost) more time on the work and this certainly couldn’t have been spotted if I didn’t double check that I was doing the right thing.
- Do you need help with anything?
I will never stop emphasising the importance of team work, especially in the work environment. Over the past month, we’ve gone through extreme pressure and tight deadlines, but what usually helps us through this is the perfect coordination found in our team. From this, I’ve learned that asking “How can I help you” or “Do you need help with anything” has the power to speed up any process and get the work done quicker than we ever thought.
- What is the deadline?
As mentioned in my previous article, setting deadlines is one the most effective ways to manage our time. Therefore, I believe that an intern, or anyone in a work environment should cultivate the habit of setting deadlines AND asking when the deadline for a specific task is. An intern is usually hired to add value to the work environment and not to slow the work process down, it is therefore important to make sure of the deadline for a task, beforehand.