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Continuous learning is the key to a thriving PR career

Davina Malan, managing partner at Tribeca Public Relations

by Tia

There have been significant changes over the course of my public relations career spanning two decades. In the early days, my fledgling career involved manually sieving through physical booklets delivered by our media monitoring agency to see what coverage we had secured for our clients, hand-delivering invitations to events and sharing press releases with the once plentiful media who existed at the time. The internet was barely formed, landlines were the primary form of communication, social media didn’t exist and cell phones were a luxury.

Traditional media outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio and television were the primary channels for communication. Networking involved face-to-face interactions, and building relationships with journalists and media professionals was crucial. The tools and strategies we relied on then seem almost unrecognisable compared to today’s digital and social media-driven landscape.

As technology advanced, so did our role as PR professionals with the advent of the fourth industrial revolution changing the way we communicate forever. It has required us to adapt to new technologies that have revolutionised the communications industry. Our previous learnings and ways of working quickly became obsolete, and the new digital world demanded that we return to school, figuratively speaking, and relearn new ways to communicate in this new era. 

The pace of change has rapidly accelerated too. We’ve had to adapt to concepts like big data, the integration of PR and SEO, crisis management in a digital world and most recently, artificial intelligence. The truth is, learning on the job, which was sufficient twenty years ago, no longer meets the demands of today’s fast-paced, digitally-led public relations and communications industries. If agencies want to keep up with these changes and stay competitive, they need to invest in training for their staff.

At Tribeca, we emphasise staying ahead of industry trends and strive to understand and adapt to the constant changes brought by new innovations. To excel as consultants, we must anticipate and embrace these changes as they arise.

As an agency, we are committed to providing relevant training for our team members. However, to keep up with the speed of change, we recognised the need to enhance our offering even more. By integrating both hard and soft skills, we ensure that our teams are equipped with the knowledge and tools they need to navigate our continuously evolving industry.

As I reflect on my own personal journey in the PR industry, I am reminded of the power of adaptation and continuous learning. What began as a leap of faith at the age of 20 when I chose to begin my PR career, has evolved into a lifelong commitment of personal and professional learning. 

Today, I am proud to lead the training and development programme at Tribeca. Training our teams is not just a tick box for me, it’s a deep passion of mine. Whether I am sharing compelling stories or facilitating training workshops, my goal is to leave a lasting impact on each team member.

Investing in our people is not just key to our company’s success but also to the individual fulfilment of our team members. We want to empower everyone to reach their full potential through a culture of learning and growth.

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