Quiet Doesn’t Always Work In Ad Agencies

Most of you reading this don’t know me, but I’m quite an introvert. Long ago, an art director partner of mine said once, “You don’t talk much…but you’re thinking.” Which is true. I’m the quiet one in meetings, which is often perceived as being distant and uncaring. And I’m sure my career has suffered because of it. Because in advertising agencies, it’s the loud ones that get the attention, whether they know what they’re talking about or not.

So it was interesting to read this article in Nextness, an Australian blog from STW Group. There are a few coping mechanisms suggested:

You have to be able to get your ideas across to your colleagues. But of course a gladiatorial meeting environment is horrific to you. Why not isolate the decision makers before the meeting and present your ideas to them one at a time? It’s calmer for you, and they can then come noisily to your support in a group situation. It’s worth a shot.

Yes, it’s worth a shot. It’s also hard to dismiss the groupthink in meetings that you can’t control, where loud people are jockeying to impress the room and decisions get made. Regardless, we’re living in an age where introverts are gaining a little more attention for who they are. Susan Cain is best known for raising the issue with her TedTalk on the power of introverts:

Are you an introvert at an ad agency? What are your coping skills?

About Dan Goldgeier

Blogging on AdPulp since 2005, Dan Goldgeier is a Seattle-based freelance copywriter with experience at advertising agencies across the U.S. He is a graduate of the Creative Circus ad school, and currently teaches at Seattle's School of Visual Concepts. In addition, he is a regular columnist for TalentZoo.com. Dan published the best of his TalentZoo.com columns in a book entitled View From The Cheap Seats: A Broader Look at Advertising, Marketing, Branding, Global Politics, Office Politics, Sexual Politics, and Getting Drunk During a Job Interview. Look for it on Amazon in paperback and e-book editions.


  1. I get prepared. I do my thinking beforehand as much as possible, working through all the directions the meeting could head. It allows me to be a step ahead of others, so that when the opportunity to speak presents itself, I can chime in with something that is considered and hopefully well thought out.