As a consultant, I’ve found that the use of pronouns is actually a much bigger deal than you might think. When I walk into a project, it stands out so people that I say “you” all the time. “You” all need to do this. “You” should be focused on this at this point. “Your” main priority should be this. The companies that I consult for often ask me why it is that I spend my time saying “you, you, you” when they believe I should be saying “we” or “us”. Well, the answer is pretty simple.
Consultants enter into a business or company that is not their own. As a consultant, I take over or lead projects that will ultimately help improve the businesses that I’m consulting for. But, although I become embedded in these companies, they are still not actually my companies. At the end of the day, “you” do need to do this stuff, not “me”. This is not my company; it is yours. Talks tend to end up in third person when it comes to the business. “Company A” needs to do this and “Company A” needs to do that. These are common phrases I use.
Some people might argue that this separates consultants from the companies that they are consulting for. I would argue that these two things are actually already separate. Consultants are like a second opinion that was called in or an expert in a certain field to come in and do the things that they do. You can think of consultants as a special team –I’m not a part of the starting lineup. “You” are the starting lineup. Remember that.
And there’s nothing wrong with that. In fact, if anything, I would think that this should empower you to immerse yourself in your business. Because it is your business. It’s just a mindset that you have to keep when consultanting. This is not “mine”, it is “yours”. Bottom line for us consultants is that this is your company, not ours. Your project, your brand, your image.
As a consultant, I am happy to help. I am HERE to help. But, at the end of the day businesses, this is on “you”. “You” do need to do this. “You” should be focused on this at this point. “Your” main priority should be this. You, you, and you. Like I said, I am a special team –not the starting lineup.
What are your thoughts on the importance of pronouns in the consulting business? Do you think we should make a clear distinction or not? Thoughts? Comment below!