Diane Hall - The Frazzled Freelancer

Freelancer, Entrepreneur and mother of two...

Your Elevator pitch? Or my pitch? Or our pitch? Which should you use?

This week our Frazzled Freelancer attempts to untie the tongue tied. Do we say ‘my business’ or do we say ‘I can’? Or should I say ‘I’ always? Confused, concussed or convalescing? Let the debate begin….

In your elevator pitch, do you speak in the first person, second person or third person?

“Hang on, how people are in this elevator?!”

Or do you go round and round in…plurals?

For most freelancers, their business consists of just themselves, as a sole trader. No big boardroom full of people, no conferences to organise; the buck stops (and starts) with just the one employee.

Plurals – you (we?) are not alone…

So when describing your company – for example Joe Bloggs, Graphic Designer – do you say, “I will design your website and I will give you excellent service,” or do you say, “We, at Joe Bloggs, can design your website. We pride ourselves on excellent service”?

The difference there, is – the first example makes it obvious that you are a lonesome freelancer whilst the second example indicates that you may work for a company that employs more than one.

Speaking in plural is sometimes done without much thought and I think it is personal preference as to whether this is right or wrong. Some may argue that no harm is done to use ‘we’ instead of ‘I’ and the bonus is that it makes your company sound larger than it is – there’s always the theory that money attracts more money.

The only negative of using language of this kind is when you may have won the job and your new client expects a faster turnaround than you can solely provide – after all, he thinks you’ve got everyone under the sun working at Joe Bloggs Graphic Design. This may instigate an embarrassing conversation where you admit you work on your own, or you could blag it and try and rope in help. Each person does business in a different way – some would play it safe and be honest, some would take the risk. Although I’d like to say always play it safe, many of Britain’s millionaire entrepreneurs will tell you they got where they are by taking risks. So, the decision is yours.

First, second or third – which is which?

To talk about yourself is speaking in the first person – when you say, “I will”, “I won’t, or “I do” (bringing back memories of your wedding vows, perhaps?).

When speaking in the second person, you are actually in the mind of the reader. This is useful in marketing when trying to offer a solution to your customer that seems to fill their very need.

For example, “You know you need a great graphic designer, you have used Joe Bloggs before and will do again, because you like good service and excellent quality”. It can get a little egotistical to talk in the second person too much because you are, in effect, making assumptions about how they are thinking and feeling. Second person mostly appears in fiction books and self-help books.

The third person is when you speak of your company as if it is someone else’s and you are detached from it altogether – like you’re on the outside, looking in. This is where you would say, “Joe Bloggs excels in their customer service”, which can be useful in negotiations – by appearing detached (almost like a representative of the company) you could give the impression that firstly, you are a big enough firm to employ a sales rep, and secondly, that you have more flexibility with pricing and delivery than the man behind the computer screen (which can only be good in that situation).

Again, each to their own. The important thing is probably continuity. If you’ve gone to one networking event and talked yourself up to be a bigger company than you actually are, then make sure you carry this on at further meetings, just in case someone whom you’ve previously met happens to be there. It saves embarrassment.

So, if you like playing it safe, stick to “I”. If you like taking risks and think giving the impression you have a bigger workforce and a more successful company is a risk you’re willing to take, use “we”. Hold your nerve – you may just pull it off!

Steady Eddie, or risk taker – as long as the customer is satisfied with your service, does it really matter how many are on the payroll?

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Written by Editor on October 25, 2010 and filed in Featured, Frazzled Freelancer, Opinion ,

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