Department of Communication
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Below are a few ways to apply communication concepts and ways of thinking to your internship experience. They provide writing prompts for journal assignments and productive ways of thinking for any major looking to increase their communication expertise in practical, real-world settings.

Things to consider as you begin your internship

Things to consider during the middle of your internship

Things to consider as you complete your internship

Things to consider as you begin your internship

Organizational role: What is your role in your organization? Identify and provide examples of three communication skills that are important to your role within the organization. How satisfied are you with the role that has emerged for you thus far? What issues, if any, would you like to discuss with your faculty supervisor in order to clarify or modify your role?

Diversity: What racial or ethnic groups, if any, are overrepresented or underrepresented in your organization’s staff and/or clientele population? What ideas do you have about why this might be the case? If your workplace is diverse or serves diverse populations, how does this impact the work environment or decision-making in the organization? If your workplace is not very diverse, how do you think this influences the way the organization operates? What communication methods might be used to more successfully reach and serve underserved groups? What communication methods might be used to better serve the overrepresented group(s)?

Goals of organization: Explain, in your own words, the purpose or mission of your organization. Describe the goals and objectives. If your organization’s goals and objectives are not in written form, interview a few key people in your agency and inquire about them. As you observe the organization’s work, what specific communication strategies are being used to meet these goals and objectives?

Cultural behavior: What do you observe about your internships work culture? How is organizational culture being communicated? How did the expectations of the organization’s culture differ from your usual experience in the “student culture” of your college or university? The culture of your family and community? In what ways, if any, did you experience a clash between your behavior and the norms and expectations of the organization’s culture?

Things to consider during the middle of your internship

Identifying good communicators: Who do you find to be a good communicator in your organization? What aspects of this person’s communication do you admire? Is there anyone who, in your opinion, needs to strengthen their communication skills? What particular aspects of this person’s communication need to be modified? Values and attitudes? Nonverbal communication? Verbal communication? How do you think others in the organization might describe you as a communicator? What strengths and weaknesses might your co-workers attribute to you?

Group communication: What groups have you had the opportunity to observe, lead, or participate in during your internship? As you think about these groups, what type of communication skills are being used? What is the nature and role of meetings in your workplace? What do you see as your strengths in working with groups? What are your goals for future improvement?

Power: Power differentials between supervisors and supervisees and/or professionals and clients are to some extent inevitable. How do you see these issues being played out in your internship organization? How does communication and/or rhetoric function in these power differentials? Have you observed any particular policies or worker behaviors that tend to accentuate these power differentials? What suggestions do you have (if any) as to how this organization might deemphasize or reduce these power differentials?

Supervisor relationship: How might your supervisor help you to gain better communication skills? How comfortable are you with the idea of discussing this feedback with your supervisor? How open do you perceive your supervisor to be to receiving your feedback? Evaluate your own role as a supervisee. What strengths have you brought to the supervisory relationship? What have you done to make the most of your supervisory time? What might you do to get more out of supervision?

Things to consider as you complete your internship

Advice narrative: Write an advice narrative for a future intern who will work at your place of business. Begin by describing your position, what communication skills you can gain as an intern at this business, what difficulties you will be faced with, the level of professionalism, and any general advice about how to be successful. Use specific examples from your experience.

Receiving feedback: Reflecting on the entirety of your internship experience thus far, what messages were you most pleased to receive from your supervisor(s)? What messages were most difficult for you to hear or accept? How well were you able to maintain and communicate an open and nondefensive posture throughout the discussion? How might your supervisor’s feedback clarify or reshape your goals for future improvements and growth? What are your expectations with your final evaluation from this internship experience based on your previous experiences with being evaluated? As you anticipate your evaluation in this experience, what aspects of the evaluation process do you feel most anxious about? Most confident about?

Supervision: How have you benefited from supervision? What challenges have you encountered in your supervisory relationship? Have you ever had a serious difference of opinion with your supervisor about how to handle a situation? If so, how did you manage this difference of opinion? Imagine that you are an internship supervisor. What characteristics would you like to see in the student you are supervising? How would you like to student to relate to you? What specific traits and behaviors would you be concerned about if you saw them in your student?