I am a newly joined intern at a company. Recently, I was tasked by my supervisor to discuss a matter with supervisors A,B, C and D from another department and get their opinions about it. I have not talked to supervisors A,B, C and D before.

I have 2 ways to deal with it, seeking your opinions on which approach is feasible.

1: Write an email to all supervisors and cc my supervisor. Kindly state the matter to be discussed and asked for their opinions. However my concern is that would those supervisors (except my supervisor) even bother to entertain me who is just a mere intern?

  1. Since those supervisors work on different days and have different schedules (eg. some have shift work, some work from home on some days), I could just approach them individually whenever they come to the office and ask for there opinions.

Which of the two opinions is better?

  • 2
    Why not both? Send an introductory email to present yourself and why you are contacting them and ask if they have suggestion or if they are ok with scheduling a call to talk about this. If the expected answers email should be fine, otherwise they can elaborate over phone. The email also allows them to share ideas.
    – Al rl
    Jun 5, 2021 at 13:30

2 Answers 2


I will base my answer on the assumption that your supervisor is preparing to do something later that will impact the work of A, B, C, and D, and is seeking for feedback in order to accommodate their needs in this upcoming solution.

Matching inputs with others'

allows for superior — and as such, best-received — solutions

What needs to be considered is that A, B, C, D's individual interests may conflict with each other, or their priorities in aspects of a solution may differ.

A meeting held together could offer a chance to arrive at a solution that fulfills everyone's needs to the fullest — or to put it another way: it can help finding a solution that won't get challenged on the first day after its implementation.

Your first step could be to confirm whether this is indeed the case:

Confirmation step

You could approach A, B, C, D at first individually,

  • introduce the case,
  • reveal that the other supervisors are also stakeholders in the solution,
  • and ask whether they deem a meeting together — in light of the above — to be justified.

(However, before you do this, you should probably confirm with your supervisor whether this is a step they approve of (just in case their intent was actually to collect information discretely, while not throwing too big waves in the organization — unlikely, but you loose a lot less by confirming than not confirming and making a mistake).)

If your superior approved this step, after polling the participants' preferences, go the path the majority votes on: meeting vs no-meeting.

Case of a draw

If there is a draw in the votes:

You yourself should not force a meeting in this case. Instead, you could go back to the meeting-proponents, and inform them that due to equal amount of declines, there won't be a meeting. Now the proponents could either put up with that (given it's not so terribly important for them), or, if it's important, then they could make a move to convince the decliners.


If meeting:

If the final vote is for a meeting, organize a timeslot for it, and let the participants work out the feedback that your supervisor needs. (You could even offer your supervisor an invite to take part in the meeting, to observe the evolution of the final feedback first-hand.)

The timeslot challenge and a workaround

You wrote it could be hard to find a fitting timeslot. When you try to find a compromise in this regard, favor the needs of the meeting-proponents. If a meeting-decliner will end up not attending in person, it's way less of an issue (a non-issue, even, perhaps) than if a meeting-proponent gets left out.

In any case: if someone ends up not participating, offer them a chance to write up their needs that you will deliver in the meeting, thus representing their needs in their absence.

If no meeting:

If the majority of people expressed no interest in a meeting, you are free to collect input from everybody individually, and later present the results to your supervisor.

  1. email the four of them individually. Never create email-group-threads, and never-ever if you are a junior.

  2. Be absolutely specific. Hence, do not say

Dear Steve, Bill has asked me to talk to you about the database. When do you have time?


Dear Steve, Bill has asked me to talk to you about the database. Should I go with four columns or three columns, need your expert opinion!

Any further questions you have can follow if the discussion begins.

  1. When you have emailed all four individually, drop a quick email note to your boss stating "Bill, I have reached out to A B C D as you told me to, thanks!"

  2. And yes, as you see in the office each of them individually, walk over and say "Excuse me Steve, what do you think about that three or four column issue? Bill says I need your expert opinion!"


  • From the POV of the organization, the synchronized impact of A, B, C, D could be way more useful than their un-aligned individual inputs. A meeting allows for exploring which parties have which issues with solution candidates, and also allows for going through several iterations of ideas that finally can represent every party's interests to the fullest possible extent: a synchronized, best possible solution, avoiding arriving at a specification that could get challenged right after its implementation. (This latter case could waste a lot of money, & could also declare OP failing at the task.)
    – Levente
    Jun 5, 2021 at 15:36
  • 1
    Another remark: "need your expert opinion" in the e-mail sample — in my opinion, no need for flattery. 1.) Flattery of this sort from an intern or junior may come across as un-meaningful and thus unauthentic. 2.) Engaging in flattery could set OP up to such personal dynamics in the office that they did not intend putting themselves in, and that could later prove hard to undo.
    – Levente
    Jun 5, 2021 at 15:48
  • 1
    Ok, I ended up inspired enough to turn the above into an answer. :)
    – Levente
    Jun 5, 2021 at 16:16
  • @Levente - bravo !
    – Fattie
    Jun 5, 2021 at 17:28

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