- On November 11, 2015
I found myself listening to Ivanka Trump be interviewed at the 2015 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. She talked about how she organizes her time, what it’s like to be Donald Trump’s daughter, and her approach to building brands. The woman is cool, calm, and collected and has a beautiful speaking voice. I’ve been through my share of media trainings, and at first Ms. Trump seemed to do everything right. She deftly deflected questions about how her father treated Megyn Kelly in the first Republican presidential debate and spoke in a natural-sounding way—until she did not. When asked how she decides to divide her time among her different businesses, she told the reporter she thinks about how to leverage herself for the ultimate benefit of the companies.
In business, leverage usually means to use a quality or advantage to obtain a desired effect, but it almost always can be replaced by a simpler—and more precise—word, including apply or just plain use. Her answer was a souped-up way of saying, “I ask myself where I can be most effective.”
Ms. Trump also resorted to a few other turns of phrase that detracted from her otherwise human and smart performance.
• When she’s in the office, she interfaces with people. No, she meets with people.
• Passion, in her opinion, is critical to building an impactful business. Successful would be more apt. (I recommend avoiding impactful, period.)
• She asks herself whether her life is architected around the priorities she has set for herself. Structured was tailor-made for that thought. Architect as a verb isn’t even in the dictionary. But maybe that was her real estate gene talking and she just couldn’t help herself.