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5. Be British. Or at least spell 'colour' as intended.

Be curious (ok that's point 1 and 2) and naive (no preconceived ideas, having opinions but not being too opinionated ).
and articulate.And know how to use imovie and make powerpoint look sexy (or even better know how not to use powerpoint).

Thanks for that!

And your pics of Arthur are interesting, just not always the most debatable posts!! :)

I'd add something. BE LIKE THE BASS PLAYER. Like Sting on Walking On The Moon. Like McCartney on tons of tracks. Be a backbone, keep it simple but unforgettable.

I like the Bass Player analogy a lot.

I'm coming to the tech skills bit. But iMovie etc are crucial.

My entire career is based on the fact that I worked out how to put pictures into PowerPoint way before most other planners. Thinking back maybe Scrubber taught me.

Having been offered a place on one of the graduate training schemes for this September, I'd be interested in your views on how to get the most out of my first year on the job. I realise things will vary from agency to agency, but any general pointers would be useful. What should I aim to achieve? How will I be most useful? What would your ideal trainee planner do for you/the agency/themselves?

So far I've been told a trainee planner is rare and that no-one will know quite what to do with me.

I remember attending an IPA conference, when I first started, where St Luke's planner was saying that planning is all about axes & fireworks.

1) You need an axe to cut the clutter down into smaller pieces
2) Then it's all about bringing together 2 unexpected elements of the clutter so it produces a firework.

This is the day I understood what planning was about.

I think it very much ties in the "It's about making connections between seemingly un-connected stuff" you mentionned.

need to be happy to talk to all kinds of people about all kinds of things.

...This is where I fall down. I'm too shy to be a good researcher.

But you over come this via:
...need to be happy to talk to all kinds of people about all kinds of things.

Which really is a culmination of open-mindedness, & a constantly evolving knowledge base.

Which I have learnt can be spoiled in by one thing - over focus.

Get out there and just live. If your mind really suits the role of planning then it will not just come forward, but drop itself in your lap.

A few more thoughts:

1) have a really good left and right brain
Its not enough to be good in one area: you need to be able to both analytical and creative - often at the same time. Seeing inteersting little bits of information (something Russell alluded to) but then read somethign else into them

2) Ask lots of questions - even the obvious ones.
Its part of being v. curious which is a planning natural (and somethign everyone esle has said)

3) Don't be overly intellectual.
The simplest soutions and the ones creatives seem to work best with (in my experience) are very single minded. Often planners get to intellectual or want to tell people all about the consumer. KISS it.

4) Have no fear - confidence slolves a lot :)
Ta for this blog by the way - the pics of Arthur are great to !

To anyone looking to become a planner, I'd say:
- Don't worry about being "brilliant" everyday. And, if you find yourself working for someone who has such expectations of you, accept the idea that planning probably will never work at that agency and you should probably look for work elsewhere.
- Don't fear failing... in fact, embrace it and make sure you learn from it.
- Find people in the agency (and out of the agency) who are smarter than you and do your best to surround yourself with them.
- As a junior, I discovered that it's most always best to offer opinions in the form of a question. Rather than saying, "I think..." say, "What if..." Fair or not, few seasoned people want to take strategic advice from someone who is new.

My favourite half-planning thing I like to do is go to a different supermarket each time i shop, from the Waitroses all the way through to the Lidls.
It doesn't take up any extra time and watching/listening to people and being a trolley snoop is 100 times more interesting than reading stuff.

Good shout Anthony. I'd not thought of that. That's very smart. My similar thing is every week to try and read a magazine you've never read before. You get to some very esoteric stuff very quickly. But it's a great way of getting out of your usual mindset.

"I'd add something. BE LIKE THE BASS PLAYER. Like Sting on Walking On The Moon. Like McCartney on tons of tracks. Be a backbone, keep it simple but unforgettable."

Errr.. if you could bring your analogies up to date they would be a lot more helpful to us younguns who weren't raised on the oldies. Cheers.

You also need an appreciation of things passed to be a good planner. A sense of history wouldn't go astray.

A decent planner may have done a bit of research to find out the significance of' McCartney on a ton of tracks', instead of just whinging that you didn't understand something because it wasn't spoon fed to you.

Besides, no one knows the name of J Lo's bass player....

Loved the bass player analogy :)

Legend has it that a certain John Entwhistle wanted to be cool - everyone in the band had their own peccadalios.

Here's what he decided to do; bought a purple rug to stand on - a sort of self-knowing way of being cool, if you will.

Russell has figured this out tho ;) read the Linus comment about the blanket..

I thought this is a very good explanation and a answer to my basic question about planners !!
i´m very glad that you posted this here.

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