Your Best Work Starts with a Conversation

In fact, everything starts with a conversation.

Jobs start with a conversation we call an “interview.” Marriages start that way, too: long before the ceremonial words and religious official shows up, there is a conversation we call a “proposal.” Our hands hold a burger and fries because of a conversation we call an “order” (though now automated at McDonald’s). Even a conversation with God (or the Universe) has a name: “prayer.”

We have unique names for these verbal communication events because they signal the beginning of something.

Why all this attention to these verbal beginning points? Because that is how humans begin things—how we engage with each other. We say what we know, negotiate the differences in how we understand the situation using words and body language, and then we agree to move forward (or apart, as the case may be).

Our best work starts with a conversation.

We Start This Way. You Do Too.

One great joy of copywriting is the initial conversations we have with clients. Our client explains their product or service, their customers, and their business model, usually with a lot of enthusiasm. Then they tell the problem they have or the opportunity they see.

Our team actively listens. Not just because we are interested (we are intensely interested) but because the initial conversation often plants the seeds for the solution. The seeds are there—but none of the conversation participants know it.


That initial conversation puts in focus what we are trying to do together. Information gets shared, along with how the product or service changes customers’ lives. As we talk, we pick up on the layers of meaning behind the product or service. Those layers of meaning power the mixing, organizing, and rearranging of words.

Research and interviews follow, but the initial conversation often sets the tone and pours gas into the creative process. The discussion sets in motion the meaning-making that makes creative people like us want to find a new way to tell our client’s stories.

Don’t Underestimate Your Small, Daily Conversations

We encourage our clients focused on innovation to take conversations more seriously. Conversations that crack open a new solution to an old problem often seem to happen at scientific conferences or when colleagues enthusiastically share the results of a particular bit of research they are doing.  

Having deeper and broader conversations is an ongoing goal for these clients who depend on conjuring new products to meet emergent needs. Those conversations are a matter of frequency, of connecting like-minded people, and of relationship-building. Some tools help, but tools are not the primary medium for these conversations. The primary medium is human connection, which takes a variety of forms.

Note to Self: Be Alert to Starting Things

Lots of us are task-oriented. Most days, we tend to value accomplishing tasks over small talk. This puts us in the perfect position to ignore the pieces of conversations that could solve our current problems.

But if we realize how potent our conversations are for starting new things, we might remind ourselves to pay attention to the people and situations, and conversations occurring all around us. That approach looks suspiciously like living in the present.

And maybe we all need to stop throughout our days and ask, “What is this conversation trying to start?”


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