Learning by Doing: Palantir’s Internship Program
Our interns bring fresh new perspective to our team.
At Palantir, everyone is allotted a certain amount of hours and budget to spend on opportunities for professional growth and development. No matter what our roles are (sales, engineering, design, or operations) Palantir wants to ensure we have every opportunity available to gain knowledge and perfect our craft. I chose an 8-week improv course at The Second City in Chicago as my professional development opportunity, as I felt it would be the perfect way to brush up on my communication skills. Good communication with clients and prospective clients is important to Palantir’s success and it was an area I felt I should strengthen.
I didn’t really know what to expect from an Improv class. Would it actually help me with my role in Sales and Marketing at Palantir? Would I feel silly and be way out of my league? My fears and doubts quickly subsided as it was clear it would be the most beneficial course I had ever taken.
From the very first day I was put at ease by the instructor. After doing a few exercises that felt completely off the wall and silly she said, “if you can’t get out of it, get into it.” This rang so true to every aspect of my life, but especially to my role at Palantir as a Business Development Representative. As BDR, I am responsible for having initial conversations with potential clients, attending conferences, and identifying sales opportunities at networking events.
As a “salesperson” you often come into very difficult situations where potential clients may be a little tough to read, or they may ask questions you don’t immediately know the answer to. Of course you want to make a good first impression and don’t want to start conversations that may be mutually beneficial on the wrong foot.
My instructor’s statement was so true! “If you can’t get out of it, get into it!” Why had I never thought of this before? If you can’t get out of a situation (like awkward or uncomfortable sales calls or conference booth settings) then you might as well go for it and hold nothing back!
Tips I learned through Improv to become a fearless communicator:
Since completing the improv course, I have felt more comfortable having initial conversations with prospective clients and feel I can offer more help and information just by being more comfortable in the situation. I am way more comfortable working the showroom floor and bringing people into our booth to start conversations at conferences. I have also gained more confidence in project managing the sales process at Palantir and running meetings. I am still learning how to be more outspoken, as it is a process, but I am far more comfortable sharing ideas and speaking up.
Lastly, I have even gotten more comfortable attending networking events on my own and introducing myself to groups of people. Showing up to professional work events used to terrify me. The thought of going to events with other professionals without knowing anybody was almost paralyzing. I can now attend networking events on my own and have no problem walking up to groups of people to introduce myself and making professional connections from the events.
If your company has an opportunity for professional development, I highly recommend something like Improv to break you out of your shell. I not only gained valuable tools for our sales process, but I also made great friends along the way.