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Why and how we should be fostering emotional intelligence in our interns

Part 1: The forgotten benefit of internships — emotional intelligence

Internships fascinate me in many ways because if done well, they can seamlessly integrate new team members into working environments, create a strong sense of teamwork that ties people together against all the odds, and encourage positivity, up-beat personalities and concentration on the job.

They are immensely helpful for graduates, providing them with a variety of benefits, including:

  1. An opportunity to learn from an experienced work-place professional who can act as a mentor not only during their internship but also throughout their career.
  2. Insights into specific industries and sectors, as well as departments within companies, and how they work.
  3. An introduction to the ethical codes, rules and conditions that keep companies operating smoothly.
  4. A great chance to build new relationships via networking and references.
  5. New responsibilities that build patience, courage and the ability to overcome difficulties.
  6. Potential job offers, either to become permanent full-time employees in the company, or from other organisations.

These are all wonderful things, but the forgotten benefit that I want to highlight in this blog post is ‘emotional intelligence’, because it is often neglected when it comes to internships.

Daniel Goleman, the psychologist who developed the concept of emotional Intelligence in 1995, identified five key elements: self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy and social skills. In the PR world, I believe that being skilled in these areas is as important to professional success as being able to multitask, handle social media accounts, write a press release or deliver presentations.

Internships should foster all of the five elements of emotional intelligence, also developing other admirable traits like a sense of fun, enthusiasm, optimism, self-confidence, creativity and innovative thinking.

In the next part of my blog, I’ll elaborate on the importance of emotional intelligence and how it contributes to the development of interns working among teams and handling big responsibilities. I will also explain how I think we can create internship programmes that foster emotional intelligence.

Jude Kanawati is Account Executive Intern at Cicero & Bernay Public Relations. An independent PR agency headquartered in Dubai and offering new-age public relations consultancy to the UAE and across the MENA region. |