Advice vs. Criticism

Quite often clients and potential clients, and those who are entering the field of music PR, ask for my advice. Without fail, 99% of the time there are reasons and excuses (mostly the latter) why the advice they’ve solicited won’t work.

I’ve been to this place so many times on varying topics that I just shrug my shoulders and consider the source. Mostly advice is seen as some sort of critique or criticism of what the person is doing or not doing, which brought them to the point of asking in the first place. If they already knew or felt comfortable in what they are doing, they’d have no reason to ask, right?

Many of you know I value the advice of Seth Godin and read his blogs daily. Sometimes it doesn’t pertain to what I do, but I always read it anyway. Quite often I run across something he has to say I’ve said myself at various points along the way.

Over the last couple weeks he posted something about being more arrogant in the manner one presents themselves. In other words, own what you’re doing — and own it mightily. Don’t hide behind ‘what if they don’t like it’ with a sense of modesty. Several years ago I told a client exactly that, “You need to be more arrogant,” which was the subject of much laughter over the years as he sat, smoking cigars and drinking wine, telling friends what his publicist said. Of course I laughed too when he told me about different instances when that subject came up. But I still think he needs to be more ‘strategically arrogant.’

Today I ran across one of Seth’s posts which resonates so loudly with me, I decided to share it. I’m sure Seth won’t mind as he is the brainiac behind content curating, and a variety of ways that impress us with permission marketing.

Advice or criticism?

From Seth’s Blog

It’s quite natural to be defensive in the face of criticism. After all, the critic is often someone with an agenda that’s different from yours.

But advice, solicited advice from a well-meaning and insightful expert? If you confuse that with criticism, you’ll leave a lot of wisdom on the table.

Here’s a simple way to process advice: Try it on.

Instead of explaining to yourself and to your advisor why an idea is wrong, impossible or merely difficult, consider acting out what it would mean. Act as if, talk it through, follow the trail. Turn the advice into a new business plan, or a presentation you might give to the board. Turn the advice into three scenarios, try to make the advice even bolder…

When a friend says, “you’d look good in a hat,” it’s counterproductive to imagine that she just told you that you look lousy without a hat, and that you then have to explain why you never wear hats and take offense at the fact that she thinks you always look terrible.

Nope. Try on the hat. Just try on the hat.

Put on a jacket that goes with the hat. Walk around with the hat on. Take a few pictures of yourself wearing a hat.

Then, if you want to, sure, stop wearing hats.

Advice is not criticism.

About scout66

2017 marks the 33rd year of Janet Hansen’s career as a music marketing specialist. With three Grammy award-winning campaigns to her credit, Hansen has also contributed to the legacy of two of history’s most popular songs. “Classical Gas” by Mason Williams is the most-broadcast instrumental tune in history; and “Louie, Louie” by The Fabulous Wailers is the most-recorded rock song in history. In 2009 Hansen launched the unique music platform Scout66 to encourage reviews of live shows from the ticket-buying public. You may contact Janet at for information on consulting, campaigns, and tour support. Please follow us on Twitter at
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