How to speak on someone’s behalf

Posted on 28 January 2014 by Lucy Gregory

Question

Dear Attica

I’m giving an important presentation next week, and I need to welcome clients on behalf of my company’s board of directors. I’m just not sure whether I should open my speech with:

‘On behalf of the other directors and I…’

or

‘On behalf of the other directors and me…’

or

‘On behalf of me and the other directors…’.

I have enough to worry about without getting caught out on this one.

Kind regards
Concerned CEO
 
 

Answer

Fear not! Help is at hand.

The correct word to use is ‘me’. The order doesn’t matter for grammatical purposes; it’s simply more polite to put the other directors first. This would give you, ‘On behalf of the other directors and me…’.

This phrasing sounds a little clunky, however, so you might try, ‘On my and the other directors’ behalf…’.

But now for a sanity check. Do you need to tell the clients that you’re speaking on your own behalf? By default you’re always speaking for yourself.

So it might be better to rewrite the phrase and go with, ‘On behalf of the board of directors, I would like to welcome you…’. Since you’re a member of the board, you include yourself in the welcome anyway. Polite and succinct.