ULI UK NEXT: Leading Skills’ Seminar

ULI UK NEXT exists to serve ULI members aged 35-45 by providing tailored knowledge sharing opportunities and networking events. Our inaugural ‘Leading Skills’ seminar series in June explored media training. Husnara Begum, a former Magic Circle lawyer and journalist, led an intimate breakfast for 15 ULI UK NEXT members hosted by CMS.

Husnara impressed upon attendees the benefits of cultivating good relationships with the press. Journalists have a wealth of knowledge to share and can be influential within the property industry. They can provide positive PR for free and significantly increase an individual’s personal profile. Maintaining a long-term relationship with key journalists amplifies the chance of being referenced in the press whilst also reducing the risk of being misquoted.

To build a solid relationship it helps to think like a journalist. Try to pitch stories that are new, original and directly relevant to the target audience. Suitable content could also include a new angle on an existing or well covered story. Being responsive to journalists is important given their often tight deadlines, as is being honest. Avoid obvious self-promotion.

Dealing with the press can be daunting. Proactively maintaining regular contact with select industry journalists and getting to know them properly helps. Determining one’s own goals and objectives in advance of any contact and securing the input of PR and BD teams upfront can provide greater self-assurance when communicating with the press. It is not necessary to be working on a project directly in order to comment on it. This option may provide a good way to raise one’s profile whilst allying any privacy concerns an employer may have with discussing a live project.

The seminar provided attendees with useful, actionable insight into the necessary tools needed to develop confidence in dealing with journalists and advice on how to build personal press strategies. Feedback shows that a number of ULI UK NEXT attendees have already put into practice some of the great advice that was taught.

Words by Tom Duncan, JLL

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