PR in Practice: PR Training Enhances Professional Excellence
By Inyene Ibanga
PR in practice emphasizes the value of regular training and retraining of professionals to keep abreast of modern trends and innovations as they evolve within and outside their immediate environment. One of the key qualities of a PR person is the openness to learning. This fact is aptly captured in the sayings “learners are leaders’’ and “ the more you learn the more you earn’’.
This is not entirely about learning in order to be able to boost ones earning power. Beyond increase in earnings, learning equips you with the knowledge and skills to earn the confidence of your audiences and clients, so they value you as a credible communication manager. Over time, your audiences will not only value you as a credible source, but they will also have more faith in you; meaning that you have been able to earn their trust.
PR involves storytelling that can be used to build, enhance or repair damaged reputations by creating narratives to achieve their goals. Training helps in sharpening your writing, speaking, and relationship management capacity while also enhancing your ability to communicate with confidence and integrity. Without regular training and retraining, it becomes difficult to respond with the appropriate strategy needed to mitigate a destructive situation.
Indeed, speaking and writing remain the two most invaluable skills necessary for building and sustaining all forms of human relations. So, being the leading communication profession, PR relies on mastery of these two priceless proficiencies to drive objective and purposeful communication/interaction for the progress and development of society. In fact, effective speaking and writing are the basis of professional PR practice in all its outcomes.
PR scholars and professionals have consistently encouraged practitioners at all levels to embrace benefits offered by continuous education and capacity building programmes for enhanced performance in building mutual understanding, favorable relationships and sustained engagement among stakeholders.
Mr. Peter Oyeneye, one of the leading lights in PR practice in Nigeria and CEO of Advanced Management Academy, an Abuja-based professional PR training outfit, advises both professionals and budding PR persons to make continuous
training and education a major part of their pursuit as corporate communication managers. (Read his interview: PR Practice Requires Writing and Speaking Skills)
Also, the PR veteran emphasizes the importance of good mastery of speaking and writing skills as key ingredients for a successful career in the PR field and by extension the world of communications.
“Keep doing PR for PR. The more our clients and employers understand PR the better our rating. We must also educate the members of staff on the importance of PR because our PR assignment will be made easier with their understanding.
“I must add that they should do online training, especially on writing and speaking which are key in PR practice. So they should work continuously on communication skills. Good dress sense is also important, and to select mentors and structurally learn from them’’.
Similarly, Dr. Saudat Abdulbaqi, a lecturer in the Mass Communication Department, University of Ilorin, views the Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD), programme initiated by the Nigerian Institute of Public Relations (NIPR), as a laudable strategy for encouraging long-term training and capacity building for practitioners and persons interested in making a career in PR. (Read her interview: PR Masterclass Should be on Merit for NIPR Membership)
Also, she believes regular trainings would help to distinguish PR professionals from the quacks who have been denting the image of the profession. Meaning that, such education and training programmes will help to sanitize the profession of all manner of opportunists parading themselves as practitioners.
“I advise lecturers and prospective PR practitioners to engage PR as a very practical course/profession. All stakeholders must relate to the course as a living and dynamic profession that responds to dictates of time, need, and environment.’’
“Another source of the great prospect to the Institute is the institution of Mandatory Continuing Professional Development (MCPD) training programme as a basic requirement for advancing from one status of membership to another. I have observed the willingness of members to sponsor themselves for these programmes in view of the huge benefits that accrue therefrom.’’
Evidently, building trust requires time and hard work backed by the discipline and willingness to undergo periodic trainings that offer you the opportunities to learn, unlearn and relearn. Such regular course of education provides you the chance to reevaluate your knowledge of industry best practices.
Consequently, you will gain the awareness to be able to identify things that you have not been doing right, and discarding those that no longer bring additional value to your role as a public relations professional.
As a result, I urge you to embrace the importance of regular training as a life-long requirement for guaranteed proficiency in the delivery of effective communication and messages to address issues that affect the image and reputation of your audiences and clients, whether individuals or corporate profit and not for profit organizations.
The Nigerian Institute of Public Relations remains the leading trainers of PR professionals in Nigeria to bring their knowledge and skills up to date. It organizes periodic trainings workshops, seminars and continuing professional development programmes for professionals who are interested in expanding their knowledge.
So, if you desire to excel, make an impact, and gain respect in PR practice, then you must do the needful to advance your PR expertise through participation in trainings for enhanced personal and professional development.
Therefore, no matter how old or young you may be, you are no longer productive when you stop learning. At every stage in your PR practice, you need capacity upgrade to enable you to thrive in the professional environment.
So, always remember that a combination of effective listening, speaking and writing skills is the bedrock for guaranteed meaningful communication in all human settings. This will ensure your footprint is etched in the sands of professional PR in practice.
Inyene Ibanga, a Manager Special Projects with Image Merchants Promotion Ltd wrote in from Abuja.