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« Lady Gaga and me | Main | Quote cards »

Weasel words are more difficult to get away with

I got a note from someone who "helps lead the internet and Media efforts" at a fairly well known venture firm.

A click over to their website indicates that he's not a Managing Director or a Partner, not a Limited Senior Advisor, nor a Founding Strategic Director, Principal, Director of Business Development, Vice President or even a Senior Associate. He's an Associate. Which is fine, of course, unless the first thing you told a stranger is that you help lead an important initiative.

Organizations have always been good at title inflation, because it's free and it serves their purposes. The net, though, makes it easy to see what the hierarchy actually looks like, so it's better to just be clear, I think.

[A few readers have asked what he should do instead. After all, he shouldn't act like a mere, cog, right? My point is that he should tell the truth, a truth that gets better after being googled.

He could call and say, "I work for Joe Jones (brag about Joe for a while). He's open to meeting with you and I can make that happen if it's interesting to you."

...or he could say, "I'm the junior man here at Tate Industries and my job is to find interesting projects and bring them to the partners. Last year, I started the interactions between us and x, y and z. Is it worth your time to get together and figure out the best way to pitch this project to them?"

In both cases, starting on a clearer footing gives you more power, not less.]

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