Trump and “I”

Recently Donald Trump began a speech by saying, “I’m so proud of myself,”  and of course a business lesson came to mind...man I love business! A story came to mind a friend once told me about his first sales job. My friend stepped into his first sales training at a prominent pharmaceutical company and was asked to deliver his pitch off the cuff.  To most this would be nerve wrecking but this buddy of mine was one of those guys who could smooth talk his way out of anything. So with grace and charm he delivered a compelling pitch to the sales trainer. The trainer was no doubt impressed by his personality and praised his confidence but the next thing the trainer said surprised him. The trainer said, “Ok, now say exactly what you just said and eliminate the personal pronouns.”

My friend was a little confused at first but it made perfect sense once he delivered the pitch again and literally felt the focus shift. When you are marketing your company or product it is important for your clients to see exactly that. A hard working group of individuals delivering a stellar product. Often, however, this message is clouded by a few words that shift the focus from the great product to YOU. The main culprit is the word the word “I.”

Lets take a look at the following two sentences.

1. I was voted contractor of the year by my colleagues for my expertise in renovation projects.

2. ABC Construction Inc. was voted contractor of the year by Contractor Magazine for its expertise in renovations.

Yes, ABC is for all intent and purposes, you, but the focus has shifted and the presentation seems less pretentious. Although, one might think that these subtleties are not picked up by the average Joe it is important to realize that the change in the grammar is not the important factor, it is the feeling that the message gives. The use of “I” and “my” can give an impression of arrogance, self importance, or self gain which is not something people hear, it’s something they feel. You of course are not meaning for it to sound that way so it pays to observe your speech for the use of the word “I” not only in business but in your every talks with friends and family.

Does this mean you can’t be the face of your business? Absolutely not! It is important for you to be the face because as you know, people buy people. With a foundation of honesty, integrity, and a solid product your business should flourish and that is what you want to brand with your face. So keep an eye out for that pesky “I” word and I’ll see you at the Trump Towers.