The Musings Of An Opinionated Sod [Help Me Grow!]

Don’t Fall In Love With Your Own Voice …

So I know that the first reaction most people will have reading the title of this post is, “Pot. Kettle. Black.”

And I get it, I can talk. A lot.

But the thing is, in actual client meetings, I’m much more surgical.

There’s a couple of reasons for this.

The first is I am genuinely interested to hear what others in the room think.

The second is it allows me the time to truly consider my point of view in consideration of all we’ve heard.

And thirdly, I can ensure my POV has the opportunity to be shaped by others perspectives that I may not have considered.

However there are 2 occasions where I don’t follow these rules.

The first is when the room requires some sort of ignition to commence debate.

I know we live in times where everyone seems to have a point of view on everything, but there are occasions when silence happens and when it does, my role is to kick things off so a topic finds its natural rhythm and momentum with the rest of the attendees.

The other time I enter the fray earlier is when we have the self-appointed expert.

Now as I’ve said many times, I’m a huge fan of ‘intelligent naivety’ … people who experience/situation affords them a unique perspective on a subject matter, despite not being employed or trained in it.

For example, years ago when I was working with Dreamworks to define what ‘entertainment’ was, one of the people we invited who had a fascinating perspective, was a mother of 8 kids who regarded anything that kept her kids quiet and still for 15 minutes was the pinnacle of entertainment.

But I’m not talking about these folk.

The beauty of them is they tend to speak very much from their personal perspective, situation and experience and never try to claim their opinion is valid for a different set of circumstances.

I’m talking about the people who don’t understand that their perspective is simply their perspective rather than something that is universal and can be transported to others.

The millionaires who talk about what it’s like to be a kid in a low income home, based on what their kid likes.

The ad folk who talk about what life is like in the suburbs because they read an article about it in The Guardian.

The white guys who talk about understanding what it’s like to be an African American because they aren’t racists.

The men who tell women what they want because “my Mum was one”.

The businessmen who talk about what an ad should look like because they know business.

And while those people absolutely have a right to an opinion, they need to be reminded it’s just that – an opinion, not a fact – because if you let them talk incessantly, they don’t just have the ability to derail a meeting, they have the ability to get otherwise sane people to agree to decisions that are utterly car-crash. Remember Pepsi?

17 Comments so far
Leave a comment

Why are your posts good this week? Why?

Comment by DH

its not that good. better than his usual shit but not as good as the rest of this week. maybe he wrote this rather than the outsourcers.

Comment by andy@cynic

I’m guessing their free trial period ran out.

Comment by John

You know this is how most companies operate. Heirarchy rules.
Your lack of respect for heirarchy is one thing I really like about you. But that could be more for how much it pisses off the heirarchy than you in particular.

Comment by DH

campbell is the fucking heirarchy now so he must hate himself. now he knows what i think of him.

Comment by andy@cynic

Even when I’m at the metaphorical ‘top’ there’s more hierarchy above me. I started cynic and wasn’t the MD so I’ll always have someone to piss off. Ha.

Comment by Rob

The worst are those people who say they’re going to make a couple of points and then list three.

Comment by John

or just planners in fucking general.

Comment by andy@cynic

i remember the president from lee jeans who told me what teens liked because of his fucking 14 year old neice. hows that insight worked out for you fucks eh?

Comment by andy@cynic

I had forgotten that. Which is maybe even scarier than the fact I was such a dickhead.

Comment by Rob

I’ll never forget the time you told a particularly loud and pinionated CEO that As they know all the answers, maybe they should consider a career in government. The silence that followed was deafening. Another great post Rob.

Comment by Pete

Well said, one problem with this industry is the success of the overconfident macho idiots over more thoughtful quieter types.
It creates ‘winning’ rather success

Comment by Northern

The older I get, the more I realise how little I know and how little I should talk about things.

Comment by Marcus

Was it Dennis Thatcher who said he knew people thought he was stupid so he decided to keep his mouth shut to ensure he didn’t confirm it. Something like that.

Comment by George

I think he quoted Mark Twain who said:

“Better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt”.

Comment by Rob

Most corporate sponsorships are because a CEO thinks what they like is what everyone likes and no one dares disagree with them. At least it benefits the arts but they adopted this practice in all they do which is why I’m grateful for the boss slapping antics of Rob Campbell.

Comment by George

not when its turned on you you fucking dont.

Comment by

Leave a Reply