27 more things I’ve learned in agency life | 27 业务课

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Last November I put together 27 things that I’d learned in agency life. I thought I would add some more to it:

  1. Learn how to mind-map. I found that it comes in really handy for structuring my thoughts when writing and taking down ideas when listening to conference panels, keynotes and the like. I’ve never managed to learn shorthand, but this seems to work for me
  2. Brainstorms don’t work that well
  3. Give yourself thinking time
  4. Get a credit card that rewards you, it makes sense for your expenses
  5. You can’t run on four hours sleep a night and adrenaline forever, get a good eight hours kip when you can
  6. If you are going to work from home, invest in a good office chair
  7. Be prepared. I have a laser printer, binding machine and laminater at home (I picked them up cheap at Aldi a few years ago) just to cover myself if things go horribly wrong
  8. You may read the FT/Wall Street Journal online; but client will notice that you do if you have your print copy in the top of your bag
  9. For similar reasons, wear a wristwatch; even if your cellphone is your clock. It shows that you are serious about time and punctuality which is kind of key when you bill by the hour. Bonus points if the watch doesn’t have a Spongebob Squarepants, Ben10 or Simpson’s theme
  10. Listen. Listen to what the person is saying, play it back in your own words to them to show that you understand what they’re saying
  11. Structure your communications on sensitive issues around: I feel, I think, I want. It’s amazing how much of the emotion this process can decouple from a situation
  12. There are two types of questions. Those that you ask to find answers about a given subject and those that you already know the answer to and ask in order to shape someone else’s thinking.  If you don’t know about a given subject, demonstrate what you’ve already done to find the answers so that you are not wasting people’s time. Know the difference between these questions and use them wisely
  13. No one likes a smart-arse
  14. Fast, cheap, good – choose any two. Probably one of the best concepts to think about when planning a programme
  15. Read Sun Tzu’s The Art of War – probably the best book on strategy ever
  16. Keep your word about small things. People can be petty
  17. The more senior you get, the earlier you should leave the Christmas party, junior people can’t feel comfortable at letting off steam knowing that you’ll see it
  18. What’s your personal brand, what do you stand for? If you don’t know have a think about it
  19. There is nothing as bad as a poor or moist handshake
  20. Know your clients interests, but don’t pretend to have more than a passing interest, unless you really do share a passion with them – people generally know when they are getting played
  21. Always carry a USB memory stick and business cards
  22. The bag your laptop came in will be crap
  23. Conference and trade show schwag is declining in quality year-on-year
  24. Listen to what people aren’t telling you
  25. Don’t be afraid to use silences, it’s amazing how western culture abhors a gap in the conversation
  26. If you can’t work out who is the most stupid person in the room, it’s you
  27. Lists are a really great way to create content easily

What lessons have you learned from agency life?