Welcome to Episode 41 of Navigating the Fustercluck—a podcast full of snackable insights to help you navigate the topsy/turvy world of creativity & marketing.
My name is Wegs, like eggs with a W, joining you from Deaf Mule Studios in Dallas, where we’re at the point of the year where we can look back at the things that resonated most with you.
Thanks again for helping our launch year be such a success. Not only were we an iTunes New & Noteworthy selection, you gave us over 100 5-star reviews. And we appreciate it. If you’ve found Navigating the Fustercluck to be helpful, please share it.
OK, let’s get back to more of the snackable ideas that seemed to strike a chord with you the most.
You Can’t Prove Intent
Oh, I forgot to CC you? Sorry.
(Sorry you found out. Is more like it.)
I thought you would appreciate me lightening your load.
(Granted, he stuck you with all the crap accounts.)
You hate your new space? That’s quite a popular area.
(Of course, the desk right outside the bathroom door always sees high foot traffic.)
No, you can’t prove intent. That’s why passive aggressiveness is the HR friendly form of abuse. But don’t engage in it. Politely call it out. And expect the other person to deny it. At least they’ll be put on notice and will eventually curb their behavior.
Welcome the Hard Conversations
Paolo Coelho said, The fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. Isn’t that the truth when it comes to “showdown” talks? The ones you dread? That come with tension and anxiety. But you just can’t put off any longer. So, prepare yourself the best you can, and rip that Band-aid off. The good thing is that once it’s over, you can get a little relief. And you may just be able to hit the reset button. Clear the air. Come to a better understanding. But you won’t find out or move forward if you keep procrastinating.
Get Out of Intros
Agency introductions suck the life out of the room. They’re a waste of time. Speed bumps that break your momentum. Instead, hand out a roster card with names, faces and pertinent information beforehand. Now if a client insists on introducing themselves and demands the same of you, try introducing one another instead. It’s a lot less embarrassing, and you can pimp your teammates far more than they can comfortably pump up themselves. Plus, it shows chemistry. Face it, you need every little edge, and mundane things like introductions are crying for creative help from people like you.
Two Guys at a Bar
Whether you’re speaking with one person or a stadium full of people– minus the profanity– keep things as simple as two guys talking at a bar. And if you’re presenting creative, leave the stage directions to Steven Spielberg. When you’re bellying up, and someone asks how your weekend went, you don’t answer, We open on a wide shot of the state fair. Cut to a close up of our hero stuffing his face with a deep-fried corn dog. Just tell the story. If your concept relies that much on explaining technical features, you don’t have an idea.
Stop Reading the Teleprompter in Your Head
Memorization is not presentation. That’s why it’s painful to watch someone literally looking up to their forehead trying to read word-for-word their carefully prepared text. And then when they miss a word or thought, they turn the page back instead of coming to it later. Stay present, not perfect. There will be parts of your talk that you want to memorize exactly, but mostly you should create a series of a few poles that guide you to where you’re going. In between, stay flexible and rely on the anecdotes and facts you know like the back of your hand.
If You Can’t Explain it to a Six-Year-Old, You Don’t Understand it Well Enough.
— Albert Einstein
Don’t try to bamboozle people with big words and blathering. It’s the quickest way to get found out. Stay clear of jargon. And embrace peoplespeak. It’s your ideas and not your vocabulary that will impress people.
OK, let’s move on to one of my favorite movie lines ever as spoken by the late, great Orson Welles as Harry Lime in The Third Man.
In Italy, for thirty years under the Borgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance.
In Switzerland, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce?
The cuckoo clock.
I love this line because collaboration is not all holding hands and singing Kumbaya. How well people respond to feedback and criticism are key to the final output.
So, while you may want to limit the amount of friction found in creative development, the right amount of respectful tension can actually inspire great results. Great leaders know how to find that balance between feelings and productivity
Become Friends with People Who Aren’t Your Age. Hang Out with People Whose First Language Isn’t the Same as Yours. Get to Know Someone Who Doesn’t Come from Your Social Class. This is How You See the World. This is How You Grow. — Rotary Club
If I’ve got to explain the value of diversity to you at this point, put this down and start punching yourself in the face. Then move on to your midsection and proceed with some organ-crunching body blows.
Men Have Become the Tool of Their Tools.
And that was way back in the 1800’s!
Bells and whistles give us an excuse not to focus on the issues that Humankind has struggled with since our minds developed enough to realize the potential and burdens of our existence.
Let’s lighten things up a bit with a thought from maverick architect and social critic Frank Llloyd Wright…
If It Keeps Up. Man Will Atrophy All His Limbs But the Push-Button Finger.
Man Will Atrophy All His Limbs But the Push-Button Finger. I love it. I fear it. But I love it.
Don’t Hire a Professional Accent
Unfortunately, there are still a group of people who make a living just off their ethnicity. They may be British planners who pronounce process “PRO-cess.” They may be Australian, Eskimo or Hispanic… But just because someone speaks Spanish doesn’t make that person an expert on the Hispanic Market. So, no matter what their ethnicity, be careful whom you assign your Multicultural efforts, give Multicultural communities the level of respect they deserve by hiring someone with the right data, knowledge and experience to be your point person. Not just someone who happens to be Hispanic, gay or black or whatever. Take my tampon story.
Life is What Happens While You’re Busy Making Other Plans.
— John Lennon
You can’t control every detail of your life. And why would you try? Who knows what you might miss out on? Life is unpredictable. Go with it.
You Are the Hero of Your Own Story
You may not slay a dragon or save the galaxy, but you are the main character of your life. So, when it’s all said and done, will your memoirs be worth reading? If they do turn out to be noteworthy, there will have to be some reason why. Something you felt strongly about. Something you were willing to fight for, no matter how many obstacles got in your way.
Efficiency vs Effectiveness
Once a procurement person asked me, Wegs, what’s the average print ad cost to make?
Well, I said, I’ve worked on ads that took months to come up with and sold little; I’ve also worked on ads that took minutes to create and sold lots and lots. Finding the average didn’t seem so important to me. Making effective messages did and still does.
But because most businesses are based on efficiency, the financial types are going to focus on the efficiency of the hours per assignment or client; not the effectiveness and value of the work done.
And that’s why timesheets and other measures of time are held so near and dear. Your company is getting paid more for the quantity of your time than the quality of your work. It’s like an author getting paid per word rather than sales. So, unless the system changes, increasing increments of time are going to be loaded on your back, until your back starts to break. Wearing you out physically, mentally and emotionally. That makes time a major key in feeding and watering yourself.
All I know is that… Some People Find Fault Like There is a Reward for It.
The rebellion of sarcasm has given it some cache. The aura of intelligence. A few misguided “likes”. Yet, as internationally known graphic artist, print-maker and designer Anthony Burrill says:
Pessimism is Not Always Deep.
Upon further review, it’s usually not as smart as it seems.
Are we really such tortured souls? Is that what this business has done to us? If so, run for your lives. That level of toxicity is lethal.
May Your Choices Reflect Your Hopes, Not Your Fears. – Mandela
When it comes to creativity, overthink is a bigger killer than time.
The best in the business are the best editors. That’s true of creatives. That’s
true of Planners. And it’s true of Account people, too. Know when you’ve got
what you need. Know what to drop and drop it like it’s hot. Then move on.
That’s what’s called being decisive. That decisiveness, that ability to
edit takes confidence.
Cut the overthink and improve your team’s collaboration and you should have
time for nearly any project. Again, check out episodes 8 & 9.
- 1) The Audience Can Either Applaud You, Boo You, or Ignore You. The First Two are Appropriate Responses. – Lee Clow, Advertising Legend, Chiat/Day
There’s a thin line between love and hate. Being ignored is the real measure that people don’t care about you or what you have to say. That said, it sucks being booed.
Time to Take a Short Breather… (EXHALE.)
…We’re here at Deaf Mule Studios to remind everyone that this is Navigating the Fustercluck. And I’m your host, Wegs. And this is a review of some of our greatest hits.
Well, that about wraps up our 40th episode of Navigating the Fustercluck.
Here from Deaf Mule Studios, I’m your host, Wegs, like eggs with a W, and thanks again for listening in and supporting us. If you think we missed the boat with what should of made our greatest hits list, please feel free to reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org or NavigatingTheFustercluck.com, where you can find transcripts to this episode and every other of our 41 efforts. Finally, remember, we’re all in this together. So thanks for hanging in there. Here’s to you. Here’s to the future.