This post was written as part of my role for Indiana INTERNnet, and was originally published here.
Interns and supervisors from around Indianapolis came together on May 31 for Intern Day at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis. This event was the first of five summer intern engagement events hosted by Indiana INTERNnet in partnership with local organizations.
The event kicked off with a networking game, designed to get interns mingling. The objective was to get to know two new people from outside of each attendee’s organization and be entered to win tickets to the Museum’s exclusive collections tour. After which, the attendees filed into the Lilly Theater for the event’s career development program, presented by Samantha Martin, the assistant director of the Career Services Center at Ball State University.
Martin emphasized the power of storytelling, an uncommon notion in most professional development talks. She understands that networking is not easy, and often young professionals are not sure how to approach situations where they’re asked the dreaded, “Tell me about yourself.” That request can send unpracticed professionals into a tailspin, not knowing what aspects of themselves are relevant or worth sharing. To help avoid that dilemma, Martin had the whole crowd participate in an interactive activity:
On a blank sheet of paper, draw a large circle
Draw lines through the circle, as if making spokes in a wheel
On each line, write one thing you know how to do OR one thing you want to learn how to do
After each attendee filled out their wheel, Martin asked everyone to swap papers and circle what spokes seemed interesting to them, “Which of those things would you want to know more about?” After the “wheels” were each returned to their original owner, each person had 30 seconds to talk about the interesting things that their activity partner had circled. The time limit, explained Martin, forced you to pick out only the most important details and to be concise. This is important because it prevents rambling, which can make you sound unprofessional or not pulled together.
This activity, while simple, can be a great tool to help people understand what things they should mention in conversations around the office, in interviews and at networking sessions. In addition to this activity being added to each intern’s toolkit, Martin gave some general advice for how to approach the aforementioned situations, “Tell your story, smile, and remember that conversation in a two-way street.”
After an engaging, enlightening presentation, Intern Day attendees were given a sneak peek of the types of items the raffle winners would see on the collections tour from two Museum curators. The program concluded with a preview of the Lilly Theater’s upcoming play, Stellaluna and Other Tales, and then attendees were free to explore the museum at their leisure. Two lucky groups of interns, including Indiana INTERNnet’s summer intern Marissa, were able to tour the museum’s vast collection of toys, clothing and artifacts.
Overall, summer intern engagement at The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis was a day full of both fun and education – very fitting for the venue! If you missed out on this event and would like to learn more about other upcoming professional development opportunities, email us at INTERNnet@indianachamber.com.