Read the situation and the two assignments carefully, and then write which of the four message types you would use for each of these assignments; share ideas on how you might approach each..
Intern Orientation Program
A year after your internship at the video store, after you finish your degree, you are hired as assistant to the director of the human resources department, partly on the strength of your proposal to develop a two-week orientation program for interns. That proposal was adopted, and its implementation is your first major assignment.
Each summer, about ten students from a nearby film school are given internships at the company, carrying out a variety of responsibilities. Each year, a few former interns who have completed their degrees are hired permanently. So the internship program is both good public relations??”many of these students are members of film societies or work in theaters in the community??”and a potential source of new hires.
Your own experience as an intern was great, overall, but a little disorganized??”the program was only two years old at the time. Interns were assigned randomly to a department, given no overview of the company as a whole, and then simply handed assignments which, depending on the office, ranged from gofering and answering the phone to writing catalogue copy to actually supervising other employees. Some interns thrived but others were either bored or freaked out, and there were a few minor disasters. The departments in which the disasters occurred are naturally skeptical now about the program and reluctant to take on new interns.
Your current plans and activities
You believe that disasters can be averted and everyone’s experience enhanced with the orientation program that you are now working to develop. Your first idea is an opening night pizza party and mini film festival, at which each intern will show a clip of his or her favorite classic film and lead a discussion of it. These students tend to be passionate and very knowledgeable about film, and you think that the internship program in the past has not tapped into that passion and knowledge. You also plan to show a film each evening while the interns eat an informal dinner. This will help them build camaraderie and a common stock of knowledge and references.
On a more nuts-and-bolts level, interns will fill out questionnaires, which will help you decide whom to assign to which department. Department directors will also fill out a questionnaire, indicating their needs and how they plan to employ the interns. You’ve been having meetings with the directors of the departments that had intern problems in the past (some of whom remain skeptical about the program), helping them figure out how to employ the interns in ways that will benefit both the department and the interns. After the two-week orientation, the interns will be assigned to a department in pairs, to give each other support. During the orientation, the pairs of interns will observe the operations of each department in the company, spending two days in each, so that they get an overview of the company and an understanding of how “their” department interacts with others.
The orientation will also include an opening lunch and a closing dinner, with speakers from each department and lunch with CEO Barney Fife at the opening session, and??”an inspiration you had just last week??”a talk by a popular local film critic at the closing dinner. The whole company will be invited to this dinner, which you hope will build a sense of community among the current employees and the interns.
Request for an update
After you’ve been working on plans for a few weeks, Drew Carey, the director of human resources, asks you for a written update. He’s been talking to the skeptical department directors, who appreciate your efforts but are still worried about the whole intern program, especially since such an inexperienced employee is in charge of the orientation. He has confidence in your ability and judgment, but figures he should keep on top of the ongoing plans.
You have most of the pieces in place, ready to roll out in a few months. The only things you still have left are the arrangements for the opening and closing sessions, both of which will be held somewhere outside the company. You’ve talked informally with the department directors and Barney Fife about speaking at the opening session, but you need to nail them down officially. In fact, although you’ve identified on which weekend the opening session will be held, you haven’t yet set the actual date, which will depend on Lamar’s schedule, which is still slightly up in the air. Once that’s settled, of course, you’ll need to reserve the room, the caterers, and so forth. And although you have the date and have reserved a room and caterers for the closing dinner, you haven’t yet written to Gene Rogers, the film critic, to invite him to speak. You have spoken with his assistant, who thinks Rogers would be interested and has the date free, but Rogers is currently out of town, attending the Cannes Film Festival. You’re working on the letter now, which you want to have mailed by the time he gets back.
Your assignments
1. Write to Carey, giving him the update he’s requested, in such a way that he will be able to reassure the nervous department directors.
2. Write to Gene Rogers, inviting him to speak at the closing session. He’s a busy public figure who probably gets, and turns down, many such invitations. But you happen to know that one of his special interests is encouraging young filmmakers, and in fact he occasionally teaches courses at the film school most of the interns attend, which is your alma mater as well. He has also recently published a book about film conservation, one of Gilbert Lamar’s special interests. And, as you’ve recently learned from the sales director, Rogers has a private screening room in his home??”he avoids videos if he can??”and has an active account with CFI.
What kind of message would you write for each of these people? What would you do if you had to deliver the information to Mr. Carey in the form of an oral presentation? What would you do in order to plan and prepare for the presentation? Create a plan as if you had to present this information orally to each audience.