Clients are people

Not just people, oftentimes very intelligent people. They've managed to work their way into trusted positions within a company through many years of hard work. And they don't want it taken away from them by some hot-headed twenty-something who thinks this or that would be "cool". Make sure you have this in mind any time you present to them. They are not impressed with your awards from competitions they've never heard of (they probably have their own from competitions you've never heard of), they want you to tell them something that they don't know in a way that they can believe.

In reality clients would ease back a ton if they had any idea how much time and thought truly went into every piece of communication. That even the things they think are accidental are thought out. That 14 conversations at three levels of the organization occurred before arriving at 13 pt italics. Let the client into your brain a bit and give them a tour. That way they won't have a spur of the moment brilliant idea which you had the first day and passed on because you came up with something better.

I will leave you with a lesson I learned from a creative director early in my career that has served me phenomenally well. Never use the word "cool" to describe an idea, use the word "smart" instead. You'd be surprised how much impact this semantic switch can have.

Happy Easter (or ordinary Sunday, as your respective religion deems appropriate).


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