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What’s Your One Word?

What’s Your One Word?

At the MG100 gathering this past summer, one of the presenters did an exercise similar to something that I do in my talks, You the Brand and Claim Your Power.

These programs are about determining and driving how others see you. First to gain clarity and then to convey your personal brand. Brand is a funny word. Often people associate brands with logos, font, and colors. But a brand is so much more than that.

I see brand as a promise. The promise of the experience you will have interacting with that person or company. Brand is emotion and association.

This was on full display when the presenter said, “If I say the word “search” and then count to three, everybody tell me the company you think of when you hear that word.” He counted to 3 and everyone yelled Google. He then tried it again suggesting the audience think about the car industry. He called out the word “safety,” counted to three and heard “Volvo” in perfect unison.

That clarity is the power of brand. What you are known for. After all, we are all known for something. People talk about us when we aren’t there. What do you want them to say?

To help people identify how they want to be known, I take participants through an exercise called Your Three Words. After listening to the speaker, I wondered, do we only get one word?

Though he was speaking from the company perspective, and I speak about the individual, we all need to have that one word associated with us.

Honestly, I’ve probably resisted narrowing myself to one word because I’m a squirrel. My cerebral right brain gets bored easily. I love the fact that I can teach different programs and coach different people and bring different levels of expertise to my clients.

But if I had to pick one word, my through-line in everything that I do, can you guess what it is? If I said, Michelle Tillis Lederman, what word would come to mind for you? Hopefully, it’s the word:


Whether it is creating connected leaders, connected organizations, or connected cultures. My through-line in everything I do is connection, connecting to your network, your team, your message and even yourself.

Communicating to connect is actually one of my tag lines. It took me a long time to find that clarity.

What is integral to everything you do? What is a word that jumps first to mind when others describe you? What’s most important to you? That’s your one word. Infuse it into everything you do.

Then share it with me… What is your one word?


Michelle Tillis Lederman, (CSP, PCC, SCC, MBA) is an expert on workplace communications and relationships. Named by Forbes as one of the Top 25 Networking Experts, and one of the Top 30 Communications Professionals in the World by Global Gurus. Michelle is a speaker, trainer, executive coach, and author of four books including The Connector's Advantage and The 11 Laws of Likability. She was invited to the Marshall Goldsmith 100 Coaches Group, “100 Coaches Community brings together the world’s premier leadership thinkers” to seek ways to advance positive impact and give back to society. 

An executive coach, people expert, and CEO of Executive Essentials, Michelle inspires organizations and individuals to build real relationships and get real results. Having worked with fortune 500, non-profit, university and government clients she’s identified the common struggle… it’s people challenges. When asked by her young son what she does, she simply replied, “I help people work better together.” This purpose has driven her work with clients large and small including JPMorgan, J&J, Deutsche Bank, Michigan State University, MetLife, Sony, Ernst & Young, the Department of Environmental Protection, and Madison Square Garden.

She received her BS from Lehigh University, her MBA from Columbia Business School, holds the PCC designation from the International Coaching Federation, and is certified in Marshall Goldsmith’s Stakeholder Centered Coaching method. Executive Essentials is a certified Women Business Enterprise.

You may also contact Michelle at Leadership Speakers Bureau to schedule her for speaking or leadership engagements.


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