Last weekend I overheard our intern discussing the projects he worked on during his gap year before college. As he listed the opportunities and experiences with positives and negatives of each, he skipped over his most noteworthy experience. He, of course, does this regularly.
When one of your projects has success and drama and celebrity, it tends to dominate the conversation. When a performer is asked to play the audiences favorite song over and over and over and over, that performer has to balance how they deliver what the people want to hear without sounding like a 'broken record'.
For starters, most people have a preconceived notion about what that person or company was like to work with - especially if they've never worked in a business that includes levels of fame that is popular enough to be titled 'click-bait'. They often want to confirm the tabloid headlines or defend their favorite superstar. The truth is usually somewhere in the middle.
More importantly, those clients are actual people. They have feelings and problems and worries and bills and families and histories. Discussing your work is part of your work if you want to get more work, but answering questions that border on gossip become troublesome. Protecting your client's proprietary information, business operations and personal business is paramount.
But NOT talking about some of the most celebrated projects in an industry is a poor business practice because those conversations let people understand what your team is capable of accomplishing given the opportunity. Honest impressions of how the project and the client were to create with let's others know what to expect when it's their turn.
Our clients and potential-clients have ranged from 'All Good' to 'Owes Money' to 'Direct to Voicemail', but we think that we've learned something positive from all of those opportunities. These experiences are what we share on this blog, over dinners and in meetings. We want others to learn from our adventures but we hope they appreciate that one client may not offer the insight they may be seeking.