Last week, I attended the American Marketing Association awards on behalf of MVW Communications. I was able to network and begin to build relationships with MVW clients and other professionals. As an intern, I wasn’t sure what to expect so I prepared by learning about the event. I dressed appropriately, researched the people I needed to find, and arrived early. Here are a few of my takeaways from my first experience at a professional event!
1. Be as ready as can be.
Since I arrived extra early, I didn’t want to stand by the door and wait. I decided to take advantage of the extra time and the space. I made a trip to the restroom mirror to check my hair, re-apply lipstick, and even checked my posture. Afterwards, I walked around a bit and scoped the room. I noticed who would be sitting at the reserved tables, where to get drinks, and quickly scanned the best routes to reach the front of the room if we were awarded. We won two awards and made it as a finalist in a third category.
As people started to arrive, I was introduced to another team and invited to share a table. Research on the goal or purpose of an event or meeting is helpful. However, it’s important to remember that we, as humans, enjoy basic conversation. After our introductions, we talked about Nutella! Talk about a moment to relax...
Don’t expect the conversation to be strictly business because a few icebreakers help people relate!
2. Confidence is key.
As a college student, internships are opportunities to learn, grow, and gain experience. It is rare for an intern to have everything together. For example, I don’t have any business cards (yet). On the other hand, I do have the appropriate social media accounts. So, I emphasized that instead.
There were also moments where my nerves began to creep up because I didn’t know what others were talking about. Those moments were learning opportunities.
Instead of feeding into that nervous ache, take control and allow yourself to learn, listen and breathe. Think quickly but don’t fake it because it’s obvious when someone isn’t acting natural. Be confident and focus on what you have to offer in that moment.
Embrace the best version of yourself!
3. Enjoy the experience.
Sometimes we can get caught up in the chaos of the moment. This was the first event that I’ve attended as the rookie. You can ruin the experience for yourself if you become too stressed or overwhelmed.
“Am I talking enough? Am I talking too much? Do I sound knowledgeable? What if I don’t have the answer?”
I am very aware of the fact that I don’t know all the answers, at least not yet because I am new. The beauty of entering a new career field is that exactly. To value a new experience is a choice. Sometimes, you have to let go of that fear and just enjoy it. Enjoying it doesn’t mean that you can’t be professional. Enjoying the experience means that you remember to smile, make mental notes of important things, and take the positive aspects all in.
By the end of it all, I was inspired by the room full of kind, successful people who welcomed me and offered all the quick tips. I had learned much more than I expected, like how to “move a conversation” and how to build a career around your passion. I never thought that I would have had the opportunity to experience such an amazing event, to collect a professional award and represent award-winning work as an intern.
What did this week teach you? Comment down below!