Communication Challenges

Last week I finished my internship with the Irish Academy of Public Relations! To say the time flew by would be and understatement. I remember having my first interview with my supervisor like it was yesterday!

In my last couple weeks, not much was new. I filmed two testimonial videos that are going to be on the company’s website and LinkedIn! I also finished creating graphics for the summer deposit campaign I was working on. I created a bunch, so they will continue to be posted even after I am done! On my last day, my supervisor sent me a virtual card that thanked me for my work and was signed by her and all the other interns! This was a thoughtful gesture and truly made me feel my work was appreciated! I will miss working with the people from the Irish Academy! Hopefully one day I can connect with them in person!

Going into this internship, I identified communication as one of the areas I wished to improve in. Communication is crucial and being a shy individual, it is often a struggle point for me. Communication is essential to bridging the gap between individuals and understanding the flow of information. When communication is not clear, it makes everything much more complicated. Looking back to when I started, I believe my communication has improved! I had to work through a few challenges that helped me improve my skills.

First off, I shared my work email with three other interns. My supervisor would put our names in the headline of each email that was meant for us. This forced me to be extra organized and vigilant when it came to checking my email. There was about one or two times when I missed emails because they got lost in the mix. I also had to remember to mark emails unread if I accidentally opened one that was not meant for me. Email was the main form of communication for the company so this was extremely important. We also used Slack for communication. Slack comes in handy when you need to send a quick, short message that doesn’t necessarily require a full email. I know that many company’s are starting to use Slack so I was glad that I got a little more experience using this platform. Online communication platforms are so important this day in age, especially when it comes to remote work.

In high-context communication, things are often implied rather than explicit. There is a lot of attention when it comes to body language, tone, and and aspects of communication that are not directly spoken. Low-context communication is normally very direct and basically straight to the point. It is clear and concise. High-context communication is more indirect and involves interpretation. This is important to understand because communication styles differ from culture to culture. I would say that the United States is pretty low-context. We don’t rely a ton on body language and facial expressions like other cultures do. Most of our communication is through words. The Irish culture, in my experience, was much more high-context. My supervisor was always very happy and joking around. It was more about how they were delivering the message rather than the message itself. They communication with a lot more body language and even if a message was serious, it didn’t always come across that way.

Their communication style is also different in the way that they care a lot about developing a personal relationship. Like I mentioned in previous blog posts, a good majority of my meetings with my supervisor would be spent talking about personal matters. This made all of our communication more informal and high-context. This did take some getting used to, as I was paranoid sometimes that I wasn’t being professional enough. However, that is just how they operate in Irish culture. It was very refreshing at times! This style though it is more indirect, makes me feel more comfortable when communicating. I was never afraid to shoot my supervisor an email or ask 100 questions if I needed to. The only time this became difficult was just the lack of detail, which I have talked about many times.

Being able to adapt to different communication styles is a great skill to have. This internship allowed me to improve on my oral communication through zoom meetings, as well as my communication through various platforms. Being able to do both is something I know will help me in my future career path. Communication is such an amazing thing – it has allowed me to work a full time internship with people across the world! It was such a pleasure getting to know them and their way of life, even if it was just over the computer! I will always remember this experience!