Think Twice, Speak Once

Mack Simpson spent a month working to piece together a list of dos and dont’s for newly minted advertising creatives. He suggests common sense things like “Don’t be late” and “Don’t be an ass.” But my favorite, hands down, is:

6) Think twice, speak once
There are a lot of very bold, bright people working in advertising, people who hold strong opinions and feelings about the work. Boldness is a virtue so, in meetings, you’ll be tempted to chime in with your own two-cents regarding whatever point is being discussed. This is a good thing, but be sure to speak only after you’ve thought about what’s being said—after really digesting the comments and analyzing them fully—and not just speaking “from the gut.” Your words will match your intelligence and someone might actually listen to what you have to say.

Great writers are almost always great listeners who care deeply about what other people have to say. If you only care about what YOU have to say, you’re no writer, you’re a pontificator. Pontificators don’t go far in this business.

About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative direction at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.