12 pearls of wisdom from the north east pr q and a's

We love the Q&A format. We loved it as kids when Shoot! used to run them as a regular feature with footballers. Back in the 1980s all footballers favourite meal was steak and chips. One of our favourite bloggers asked PR people the same questions and the results were illuminating.

by Ross Wigham

Sometimes the germ of a good idea, a bit of summer downtime, a lack of meaningful transfer activity at Newcastle Utd and some blatant laziness can all combine to create something useful for others.

As a keen supporter of emerging communications talent through an internship scheme I set up in local government, I often get emailed or contacted on twitter by students asking questions about PR in the region.

Now, one thing I’ve learned in the past few years is that there are far more qualified, sensible and inspirational people than me to hand out advice so thought it would be useful to ask some of the leading lights in the North East to do the same.

I wanted to sweat my networks and social media contacts to get the best possible range of advice and experience for people graduating and hoping to take the next step in their career.

This snowballed into what I hope are a series of engaging blogs that also discussed the state of the profession, change, the future and the challenges facing us all as practitioners. I also hope the stories bring a bit of levity to what can sometimes feel like a bit of an earnest subject.

You can read more about it here, but in the meantime here are 12 handpicked nuggets of advice on the one killer question in my arsenal - What single bit of advice would you give to people entering the business?

#1 “Don’t be afraid to ask questions, no matter how stupid they may seem,” Bryn Littleton

#2 “Never stop learning. Continuous professional development feeds your mind, fulfils you and keeps you employed in the best jobs,” Sarah Hall

#3 “Get as much experience as you possibly can. Listen, learn but never be afraid to challenge if you believe you have a valid argument,” Christian Cerisola

#4 “Communications is a discipline and a specialist skill, just like being a lawyer or a financier. Be wary of employers that think otherwise and be proud of your profession,” Gill Stephenson

#5 “Never assume anything is correct – if you are unsure, ask,” Gordon Arnott

#6 “Write, write and write some more. Having top notch writing skills is the cornerstone to the profession.” Caroline Latta

#7 “Shy bairns get nowt,” Sharon McKee (this may need Geordie interpretation feel free to ask)

#8 “There is not one career path in PR; gain wide experience and identify fulfilling roles and organisations you will be happy representing, “ Huw Lewis

#9 “The right attitude means more than experience. Are you positive? Willing to learn? Self-starting? Interested?” Rachel McBryde

#10 “You will need to be able to stand out and demonstrate what makes you different from the hundreds of others. As well as being very good academically you should still remember that ultimately this is a people business. As they said in Pulp Fiction, personality goes a long way,” Ross Wigham

#11 “Learn. Explore. Experiment. Do it in your own time if you have to,” Dan Slee

#12 “If you haven’t got a wide range of different work experience already, why not?” Kari Owers

Ross Wigham is an NHS communications manager and blogs here.

Picture credit.

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