“The Server Is Down!”…Time For Real Communication

Posted on August 28, 2006



This morning I was greeted in the lift by our lovely office dispatch/handyman guy, Omar. “The server is down”, he said with a poorly concealed smile on his face. No emails and no Internet.  This immediately led people in the office to draw the conclusion that no work can be done, which isn’t entirely true if you think about it, although I wasn’t going to disagree since both Rob and I needed our caffeine fixes. For no other reason than its strategically perfect location, we ended up at Starbucks.

Having bought into the idea that no work can be done, we decided to stay and have our coffees at the third place and not bring it back up to the office, which is an anomaly to the regular routine.  Having talked about the weekend’s events and unevents for a few minutes, the conversation began drifting into other areas. We were also joined at our table by a couple of our colleagues (with whom we also did the standard “weekend debriefing”).   

After about 10 minutes of conversation, the topics started becoming slightly more personal and the way that we all engaged in the conversation was also more lively and emotional. It had meaning. 

This got me thinking. Even in our relationships with people we know very well and work with on a daily basis, we seem to require between 5-15 minutes of “ice-breaking”.   

Only when we’ve covered off the usual suspects for conversation starters do we (provided the context is right) start to involve more of ourselves in the conversation. There is more substance, warmth, emotion, honesty and truth in what we discuss.

Having these conversations is critical for everyone working in the trade of advertising, which is ultimately all about people. However, commercial reality means they don’t happen as often as they should. Conversations are compromised and cut short.  

Relationships thrive on vibrant dialogues.   

So the server should be down more often, at least once a week. If this were the case, we would have more time to engage in meaningful conversations and reflect on things around us and what they really mean to us (and our fellow consumers out there). We would have more people-to-people communication instead of emails. People in the office would actually take time to talk to one another. We would be better at their jobs and the ads we make would be more insightful, engaging and entertaining, not to mention more creative.   

Posted in: Planning-related