Coach Prospects (& Colleagues) Like Macca Does Songwriting Students

When the world’s best ever selling songwriter hops on a zoom class, what happens?

Well. Thanks to the students of module ATL496 How to Write A Song at Princeton University recently, we now know.

With nothing to prove, the billion dollar mind of Paul McCartney – whose most recent album McCartney III was an unexpected cracker – was seemingly a joy to receive tutelage from.

There is a withering adage that I myself have used when I have been force-fed unwelcome, unhelpful and unworthy critique.

Mark Twain; “there is no urge so great as for one man to edit another man’s work”

HG Wells; “no passion in the world is equal to the passion to alter someone else’s draft”

Whilst such compulsion may overwhelm, edit is yet something we must often do with a prospect. And colleague.

The former, such as when giddy with excitement about the alternative future our proposal dangles. So they go off on their own and make an email, document or slide deck to send to all and sundry. Extolling the virtues as they see them.

But we sell every day. They seldom do. And in their output it shows. We must lend a guiding hand.

With the latter, such as when super keen to make an impression, with a potential client for whom they feel a special bond, and immersed in the opportunity. They too craft a piece of selling collateral.

But we’ve seen their situation before. They’ve missed a trick. And in their output it shows. We must lend a guiding hand.

How this ‘edit’ iteration is broached can be crucial. A pivotal moment when you can lose your connection.  Or cement it.

How does the ex-Beatle do this?

“… in the spirit of “creative collaboration,” McCartney would ask the writers “if their song was finished or open to revisions” before offering his input”.

Examples given include highlighting powerful phrases, swapping around the structure and where to add a riff.

Analogies within a sales doc are easy to draw.

In the report, there was also an excellent reminder to bring your unique personality to bear. Despite what might be fierce pressure, be “protective of your own individual creative voice when you need to be”. Copy-ish someone else on occasion, but with your own flourish added, is a fine approach too.

Lastly, this also reminds me of the following ‘advice trifecta’;

Don’t take criticism from someone who;
– is not invested in your success
– you would never take advice from, &
– can’t take any themselves

Anyone you meet will like to give you their opinion on your work-in-progress. Nearly all of it you can bin. The trick is filtering out that rubbish correctly. And that trio is as useful a guide as I know.

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