Smart conversation: speak for yourself

Hugh’s got me going with his Smarter Conversations riff.

Another element of smart conversation is that people speak for themselves. I have learnt to be wary of “second-hand” conversations where person A tells me that person B thinks about me or something I did. Especially when it’s a second-hand complaint. I find that families can be particularly skilful at this.

Now here’s the thing: most ad agencies are almost by definition masters of the second-hand conversation. They speak on behalf of their clients who, it appears, can’t be trusted to speak for themselves. They often hire celebs to speak for their clients to make it even more removed from reality.

And we get the Jamie Oliver nonsense from Sainsbury’s that I took a pot at yesterday.

And the same operates in reverse. The agency gathers our response via focus groups to pass on to the client.

So corporations become more cut off from their customers. The agencies get in the way of real conversations.

Compare and contrast weblogs.

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