NE Comms conversation #6 “Drive, diplomacy and discretion”

Caroline Latta has been something of a doyen of health sector communications in the North East for a while now.

She’s currently working as Senior communications and engagement manager at the NHS North of England Commissioning Support and she’s been kind enough to share her thoughts with this blog.

What are the key traits people in PR need to succeed?
Integrity, ability to drive work, diplomacy, discretion and always a good sense of humour. Building relationships and trust is fundamental.

What made you get into the PR/comms business?
I originally trained as a journalist, and PR was a natural progression.

How have things changed in the last 5 years?
Social media has had a huge impact and I think there is an increasing recognition of PR as a strategic management function by business and organisations which is great news!

Are you optimistic about the future?
I am a natural optimist so of course! The glass is always half full!

What single bit of advice would you give graduates just entering the business?
Can I give two….

Firstly, be interested in the media, society, politics. Read as many news sources as you can. Absorb as much as you can about your industry or sector as it will help you understand the context you work in and identify horizon scanning issues.

Write, write and write some more. Having top notch writing skills is the cornerstone to the profession. You need to be better spelling and grammar than your chief executive, and be able to adapt your writing style instantly. The only way you become a good writer is practice and all senior pros have served their time which is why we make it look so easy.

Are disciplines like PR, marketing and advertising becoming the same thing?
Good question. I’ve always seen them as part of a large toolbox to use as appropriate depending on the issue. I think PR and marketing professionals have a lot to learn from each other as we’re really all part of the same team.


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