The Power of a Little Respect

Sarah Scott Worth is a senior at UNC-Chapel Hill and a marketing intern at Eckel & Vaughan.

Account management expert Robert Solomon’s book, “The Art of Client Service,” details “58 things that every advertising and marketing professional should know.” He discusses everything from the importance of being on time to the complexity of creating a top-notch letter of proposal. The greatest lesson I learned, however, had to do with the seemingly simple notion of respect.

In a chapter titled “Respect What It Takes to Do Great Creative,” Solomon reveals the secret of one particular client whom creative people loved and “would do anything for.” What was this client’s secret? Respect. Solomon writes, “No matter what we presented, no matter how great, how good, or how average it was, this client invariably expressed respect for the work and the people who made it.”

In his early days as an account person, Solomon recalls his greatest problem: after the creative team would present concepts to him, he would immediately express what was wrong with them. He now understands that initial criticism is not the best answer in providing feedback. Instead, where there are good ideas, Solomon writes, do three things:

1 Acknowledge them.
2 Praise them.
3 Explain what you love about them and why.

Further, those ideas that need to be killed you should discuss last, and even then make sure to explain why they should be abandoned. Always respect the work.

A couple of weeks after reading this book, I had the opportunity to sit in the first creative meeting for a particular project. As such, this was the first time proposed copy and graphics for the project were being introduced. After the creative team presented, Harris immediately thanked them for their hard work and praised them for having created “a lot of great ideas.” He knew to always respect the work.

The workplace is hectic and oftentimes stressful, so while it may seem as if showing respect and gratitude is simple and minute in detail, the gesture should never be overlooked and is always appreciated. More than just its ability to foster and maintain great relationships within the workplace, respect can prove vital in the production—and continued production—of great work.

So, no matter who you are, who your work for, or what position you hold, show respect and give thanks—a little goes a long way!