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 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:
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.
Emotional intelligence does not simply mean being an emotional person and is in fact completely different from expressing natural emotions like anger, happiness, sadness, or aggressiveness. It goes beyond that to describe the importance of developing emotional awareness about other people, which is an important skill that can strengthen an intern’s capability to fit into a team.
Emotional intelligence is not a natural talent that comes out of nowhere. It must be developed, honed and prioritised, and I believe its focus should be an integral part of internship programmes. When developing a programme for your interns, you can encourage the building of emotional intelligence in five key ways:
According to Maddy Malhotra, who wrote How to Build Self-Esteem and Be Confident: Overcome Fears, Break Habits, Be Successful and Happy, “Emotional health is more important than a fit body. Unknowingly, most of us focus on the latter, hence the lack of inner-happiness, peace, love and fulfilment.”
This means that we must encourage emotional intelligence before anything else, as it motivates us to perform better and develop ourselves while also remembering to put others first. It is the most important skill for interns to develop if they are to become valuable members of their companies.
Emotional Intelligence = Healthy Life + Happy Relationships + Productive Performance!
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. | www.cbpr.me