Gig Tip: “We”, not “I”


My career consists of 20+ years of project-related work, so this point of view might be irrelevant for those of you not in this kind of work. Anyway, through the years, it has been beaten into me and actually part of my DNA now at work to always refer to projects, results, findings, work, analyses, as “we” when presenting to outsiders — most notably clients, and to a lesser extent when presenting to colleagues in large group settings.

Not so good phrases:

  • In my opinion, the biggest opportunities for your company are X, Y, Z….
  • I researched high and low and couldn’t believe it when I struck gold with this source!
  • It is a very complex excel model that took me several weeks to set up
  • The report had many complex issues and was difficult for me to write
  • You are my client and it is my job to make you successful

Better phrases:

    • We believe the biggest opportunities for your company are X, Y, Z… OR, better yet…. We believe The biggest opportunities for your company are X, Y, Z.

    • The team researched high and low and we couldn’t believe it when we struck gold with this source!

    • It is a very complex model that took us several weeks to set up

    • The report had many complex issues and was difficult to write

Of course, there are times that it is most appropriate to recognize the accomplishments of others who worked for you on your team. You need to talk them up internally and also to your boss. It is only right to give them credit and motivate them. However, in front of CLIENTS, it is best to represent the work product as a team work product – if you are the one presenting the work, it is obvious that you were the one that conducted the work… especially if you are fielding questions about it. But in the end, it is more professional to represent the analysis, findings, and recommendations as coming from the TEAM, or your company.

This simple advice was provided to me many years ago. And something that I continuously share with feedback to others that are new to our company. And it goes a long way to present a unified front to your clients. Find other ways to self-market and promote yourself. Do it internally, but certainly not with clients in team settings.

Any thoughts on this one???

Thanks for listening –

– Mama K

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