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

Co-founder and editor of AdPulp. 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. I worked for seven agencies in five states before launching my own practice in 2009. Today, I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.


  1. Finally coming clean and admitting you’re a pontificator? There may be hope for you yet Burn.

  2. That’s funny, “Bubba.”
    I have another rule to add to the list: Don’t Explain.
    When your boss kills your lame, tired or off-the-point idea, just move on. DO NOT spend valuable time explaining why you went down that twisted lane. No one wants to know.

  3. Thanks for the plug, David– and thanks for the addition to the advice list. 😉