Traditionally, education happens in school. But what we all come to realise is that the most essential skills are, in fact, honed at work.
Once perfected, these become some of your greatest strengths for winning in life.
And trust me, there’s no better school of life than the advertising industry. From dealing with rejected ideas to charming your way to an approval, from managing expectations to surpassing them, from juggling dozens of meetings and calls to having laser-focus on that dedicated account, there’s a lot to learn. So we’ve done a rundown of some common ad strengths that are actually crucial life skills.
Ad Strength: While Don Draper makes it look like a piece of cake, getting client approval is no easy feat. It takes charm, strategy, a little research, and a lot of patience. But once you understand your client, you’ll know exactly how to get to them.
Life Skill: From convincing a child to get off YouTube and finish their food, to bargaining for a discount, to arguing your point in a debate, the power of persuasion is a powerful tool to have in your arsenal.
Ad Strength: Writing briefs, fielding client calls, creating output, presenting ideas — the list of things to do just goes on and on. And yet, we always get it done.
Life Skill: Perhaps the greatest mystery is how ad people always seem like they’re in two places at once. From weekend shoots to showing up for intimate dinners to making it to the latest Marvel movie in cinemas, we manage to fit it all into an already-packed schedule.
Ad Strength: A far more subtle skill, but one that holds just as much weight and value as any other. Does the room require more energy or less? Is the client upset or impressed? Is your award-winning creative unhappy and uninspired? Observing and understanding body language and the little nuances are crucial in determining how you approach any situation.
Life Skill: In life, you don’t get a cheat sheet that tells you what people are thinking or feeling. Reading a room is the simple, yet often unpracticed, art of walking into or being in any scenario, instantly evaluating the mood or vibe, and quickly assessing how to behave within that space. You could be the life of the party in that holiday dinner, the calm head in a situation of panic, or the quiet comfort in a moment of grief. When you can be anything, choose to be what the room needs.
Ad Strength: Sometimes, the most important thing is not what we can do, but accepting what we can’t do. And let’s face it, not even the best ideas, creatives or suits can please everyone. There will be disapprovals and disappointments. Growing thick skin, persevering, and having resilience is what allows every setback to become inspiration for a greater comeback.
Life Skill: At the end of the day, no matter how skilled you are in persuasion, juggling, or reading a room, you can’t always control what people think or how life plays out. What you can control is how you respond to each situation — and hopefully, the answer to that is with grit, grace, and most importantly, growth.
And in my opinion, there are very few life skills that are better than that.