As I end my time at VIVA! I can honestly say that the most profound lessons I learned were the most basic. Ask questions; keep it short; learning is life-long; time is precious so use it wisely; and, everyone has something to teach you.

1. Ask Questions

It’s so easy not to take the time to get all the information you need before starting something, especially when there is time pressure.

If I could give only one piece of advice to new PR interns it would be to ask questions whenever you’re given a project.

Specifically: Who’s the audience? What’s the angle? What are the key messages? AND, is there a call to action?

Admittedly, I spent more time than I want to admit researching and writing things without the answers to some of these questions, time which definitely could have been spent better.

2. Short is sweet

I remember as far back as the fifth grade, struggling to write everything I wanted to say in the time given. I still struggle with that problem.

The value of brevity is no more appreciated than in PR, where everyone is running on a tight schedule.

Too much information is often a sign that the person isn’t clear on what information is important, which was definitely my case many times while at VIVA! (see Lesson 1).

It’s easy to say something in twenty words when ten, or even five would suffice.

3. You don’t know what you don’t know

This was almost a theme for me while at VIVA!, and related not just to my work experience within Health & Wellness PR, but also to my studies at university and even to my personal roles as mother and wife.

There is just so much information out there, and so much to be learned. No matter how much you think you know, or how much you’ve already done, there is still so much more to discover!

Through the act of doing, I found myself stumbling one step after the next, upon all sorts of things I needed to learn – things I didn’t know I didn’t know how to do, simply because I’d never done them before. It was exhausting and inspiring all at once.

4. There are only 24 hours in a day – so track how you’re spending them

VIVA! MD, Paul Jans is an astute business man focused on the bottom line, who reminded me of the importance of tracking my time. Time is so valuable, and by tracking how that time is spent one can really begin to see where it is being wasted. Often, what was revealed was that I simply hadn’t gotten all of the information I needed up front (see number one) which resulted in unnecessary inefficiencies.

5. Everyone has something to teach you

This goes without saying, but is easy to forget. I loved my experience at VIVA! because of the variety of people who work there. Each member offers so much in terms of experience and training, and having the opportunity to work alongside them enabled me to see different approaches and methods for tackling projects.

After my first day at VIVA! I remember wishing I could be a fly on the wall in the office, and just watch everyone as they went about their day.

Abbey just seemed to know so much about so much, and was great at being direct and to the point.

Mahsa just made it all happen, and remained patient and gracious when discussing any task.

Pernille was unassuming, and yet her skills were so impressive. Seeing what she was up to online was always inspiring.

Melissa joined VIVA! when I did, but it was as if she had been there forever. The woman just drips know-how and experience, and I could have happily listened to her on the phone talking to clients all day.

Danielle has a great way asking questions when she doesn’t have the information. It sounds easy, but in a rush this was something I failed to do and I admired her for taking the time.

Kirsten is the kind of person you want to be. Kind, friendly, and knows what’s she’s talking about. She also seems to defy my previous point about there being only 24 hours in a day – somehow she carves out at least five more than the rest of us.

Paul is the kind of person you want to work for. Genuine, fair, business-minded and people focused, he just seemed to make things happen behind the scenes – both big and small.

Together they make up an incredible team – supporting each other to get things done in a way that has an awesome impact for their clients.

Thank you Team VIVA!