One of our goals has been to raise the bar for contractors. We want to see contractors build stronger businesses and in the process improve the reputation of our industry. Last week’s newsletter highlighted one person’s opinion of our industry and it wasn’t pretty.
Zig Ziglar used to say that if you want to be paid like a pro, you must think, dress, act and speak like a pro.
How’s your language? If you’re in the habit of using offensive language in your private life you might want to clean it up, because it’s a dangerous habit.
My high school coach used to regularly remind us, “What you do in practice, you’ll do in the game.” If your language is raw when you’re talking to your friends or even to other contractors, you’re apt to let a few of those words fly in front of a potential client as well. Even if it’s an accident, for many that can be a deal breaker. You might not think dropping a few rough words is important, but the people with the money to buy from you might think otherwise. How much business can you afford to swear away?
We could debate the definition of offensive language, but most of us could agree on at least a few words that are offensive in polite company. If they don’t belong in polite company, you might want to avoid them in all other settings. Trust me, no one will miss them.
In addition, using off-color language fits the ugly stereotype of contractors. You know, the guy who is driving a beat-up pickup, wearing dirty clothes, whistling at women who walk by the jobsite, and swearing up a storm.
In reality, the construction industry is diverse. We’ve worked with contractors of all races and nationalities. We’ve worked with both male and female construction-related business owners, both gay and straight. It’s not unusual for our two-day class to have a woman attending who is the sole operator of a female-owned business. In other words the construction industry, in many ways, looks just like the buying public.
Where we show we’re different is in our professionalism. Our attitude, behavior, appearance and language. The stereotype is wrong.
What you do in practice, you’ll do in the game. If foul language is part of your vocabulary, even in fun, learn new words. If you don’t there’s a good chance your language will come back to bite you.