I've written about this before, but I think it bears repeating. Especially since I just read that a remake of "Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy" is being planned with Gary Oldman as the star.
I read a review of Oldman's forerunner in the role, Alec Guinness, and what struck me was a sentence that said Guinness' Smiley "possessed the gift of quiet."
The gift of quiet.
How much better agency life would be if more people had the confidence to be quiet. To speak only when they 1) added to the conversation; 2) knew what they were talking about; 3) had all the details laid before them.
Most meetings in agencies (with clients or without) are dick-swinging contests. Who can speak first, loudest, longest. Not who can say what needs to be said. With brevity and clarity.
I've worked for a few people over the years who had the gift of quiet.
But most agencies are full of "summer soldiers."
People who aren't there when the fighting and rigor are being worked.
They come in at the last minute and compensate for their shortage of involvement with a surfeit of bluster.
As one of my ex-bosses, one with the gift of quiet, used to bewail "people with a titanic ego and a minnow in the engine room."
The only way to have the gift of quiet is to have the confidence to listen.