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"Us" Versus "Them"

Small things matter. The littlest detail can carry a large amount of weight, especially when it comes to the services sector.

I’ve learned that when it comes to communicating with clients, those “small things” can even be the words we say and the weight they carry. For example, using words like “us,” “we,” and “our”  infers a partnership and can create more productive conversations when discussing opinions, strategy, next steps, and issues held.

Take a typical strategy conversation for example: “You should not use surveys to get more information. It only provides you with less than optimal data points from your customers.”

While this statement seems perfectly fine, it creates a delineation between you and the client. It is their survey, not yours. It is their data quality, not yours. It is their customers’, not yours.

That simple statement could infer that you have less “skin in the game” and the decision affects them more than you.

If you said that same statement with a more inclusive stance, the client may feel that your opinion is more genuine and that you have just as much at stake as he or she has. Being invested in the product makes your opinions and input more valuable and trusted by the client.

“I feel that we should not use surveys to get more information. It only provides us with less than optimal data points from our customers.”

(Having said that, be sure to gauge your client. Not every client is the same and there is the chance they might take offense that you are being self-inclusive. They may have put a lot of sweat and time into the product and if you haven’t put the time in, you may not be entitled to use the term, “ours”).

Coincidentally, another one of those small things that matter is being able to read and gauge others... but that is a whole different blog post…

You want to work with your client as a partner. But are you using the right words? #collaboration

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