“I hope you’re ready for a crash course in business.” On my first day as an intern at Zenman, I was faced with almost everything; phone calls, e-mails, and three business meetings. I met with clients; learned about their projects and their needs; and even learned about sales pitches. None of this scared me. In fact, I loved the idea that on my first day I was already able to get my feet under me and knock out some of my industry “firsts” with barely a notebook in hand. Actually, I didn’t have a notebook in my first two meetings. That, I also learned, was a mistake.
“Take a notebook to every meeting.” This definitely wasn’t my first piece of advice that I had gotten on the day, but at least it was advice I knew I could handle right away. I was told that it didn’t matter what meeting it was, who was in it, or if I even took notes, but as long as I had a notebook, I would fit right in with the rest of the team. Then I learned if you carry a notebook around and take notes, you might just capture some important information that someone else missed. I brought my notebook to every meeting after that, and never had people question what an intern was doing in a big business meeting. I convinced myself it was because of the way we handled ourselves on the Zenman Team.
If you look at my Zenbook (the Zenman custom notebook), you’ll see that it’s riddled with notes from all kinds of customers, what they wanted or didn’t want, and how we could help them. I’m sure there’s even some lunch orders in there. It didn’t matter if I was ever going to get asked for the answers these customers wanted, but being able to write these things down helped me understand what they needed and how we could help. I began to get more comfortable with my role at Zenman pretty quickly. As soon as I understood how we could help a company become more digitally present, that is when I was able to explain it to other people. It began with answering client e-mails (forwarded to Randall for proofreading of course), then working on some proposals, and eventually I was trusted with client phone calls.
I did get the “crash course” as Randall told me at the beginning, which was overwhelming, but I believe that is the best way to experience the business world. I knew to carry a notebook to class, but I never learned in class to take notes in business meetings. These types of things I hadn’t been taught in school, I learned firsthand at Zenman. I learned this summer that not everything goes to plan, especially when customers think of something they think is better than we suggested.
I probably wouldn’t be able to write how much I learned as a Zenman intern in a single blog, but a quick glance in my Zenbook would show more information than a lot of us know what to do with. I will always be proud of saying I was part of the Zenman team. The experience I got this summer is something I will not forget, and will continue to use in my future endeavors.