When words matter in your career – Survey Says!

ABCWhen I spoke at the recent first annual ICON Summit in Atlanta I revealed a portion of a survey that I did with the assistance of a friend who has a Ph.D in behavioral social sciences. I told him that I wanted to survey specific cities that are known for using our services. These cities included but were not limited to Washington, DC, New York City, Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles California. The crux of the survey was used as reference material for my book but I wanted to query the term of endearment – “Bodyguard” and what that meant to the average person that would use our services or have influence on the decision making process in using executive protection.

I asked him to set the parameters for the aggregate group of 500 as such: Ages 25-55, income $35K – 750K, and owned a home. The survey was submitted and returned. I am going to focus on 3 specific questions, their results and what that means to those that like to flagrantly refer to themselves as Bodyguards. The questions and results were as follows:

The word Bodyguard means:

a) Professional [1% or 5 people]

b) trained [5% or 25 people]

c) untrained [94% or 470 people]


The word executive protection specialist means:

a) Professional [73% or 365 people]

b) trained [26 or 130 people]

c) untrained [1% or 5 people]


The word United States Secret Service means:

a) Professional [45% or 225 people]

b) trained [55% or 275 people]

c) untrained [0% or 0 people]


The survey was clear. When you take an average person who falls within the decision maker parameters they see someone that is referred to as a “Bodyguard” as UNTRAINED. The term executive protection specialist is predominantly viewed as a Professional and party seen as trained. Lastly the word or term United States Secret Service is almost split when seen as professional and trained with no one stating that they are untrained.

So what does this mean? First, the term of endearment has a negative affect on the way people view it and view those who refer themselves as one. That is clear. If we continue to portray and convey the model that the executive protection specialist is the private sector version of the United Stated Secret Service, then it can be surmised that we are seen as Porfessional and trained. The results speak for themselves. NO WHERE can you find me referring to myself as a Bodyguard or BG because even before I ran the survey the idea of that moniker turned my stomach. From a search standpoint on the Internet I use the term bodyguard in my meta tags to increase my search rank but that is it.

When someone asks me what I do and I explain to them in laymen’s terms they usually respond, “Oh you’re a bodyguard?” I quickly respond, “No, more like the private sector version of the Secret Service.” To even the uninitiated and untrained they quickly get the correct image. How do you respond to that same question. The results show that your response will determine how they will view you. So the next time you talk to one of your colleagues and refer to each other as such, it may be one thing, but when you openly refer to yourself as a BG in conversations, or on social media where a decision maker has access, it may hurt your personal brand.


1 comment

  1. Darryl

    I have always hated and despised the name/ word “bodyguard”. Almost everyone that I have talked with have stated the same thing. A “bodyguard” is a 6’00ft +, 300lbs, no neck, untrained person used by celebrities to intimidate people and would rather fight or throw their weight around, who is more interested in making a name for themselves than actually protecting their principal or their image. One of best image of this was Prince in the 80’s who had a bg just like this an after a concert, his bg was actually filmed pushing people out of the way as Prince was leaving the concert. Also a few years ago there was a few discussions of this problem when Hulk Hogan had his reality show and hired a bg for his daughter in which during an interview the bg tackled a radio personality during an on air demostration of his ability, when he was suppose to be protecting Brooke Hogan and then later that night was video pushing a fan who asking for a photograph. This is the image of the term “bodyguard” and I never want to be associated with that term or image.

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