Tip # 5: Lose The Pronoun “I”
This tip is from my Special Report written for recent high school graduates. It is also relevant to most adults. (Make that all adults.)
This is a major-league point, but also may prove to be a difficult pill to swallow: It is never about you. It will never be about you. It is, and always will be, about “them.”
Up until now, it may have seemed that it has been about you, but those days are over. From now on it is important for you to make every effort to enter the world of the person you are speaking to or writing to.
Very few people have mastered this skill, yet it is perhaps the fastest route to your likeability factor shooting through the roof. It is basic, yet profound. You must work on your likeability factor.
People like to be around people they like. People do favors for people they like. Doesn’t it make sense then to become the person that is easy for others to “like?”
In your writings, whether they are of personal or business nature, begin by focusing on the number of times you say or write the words “I,” “we,” “me” or “us.” You will be surprised at the number. Then, one pronoun at a time, think of ways you can improve upon the same message by replacing those self-serving pronouns (I, we, me, us) with the pronouns “you,” “yours,” or “them.”
This is easier to do in writing than it is when speaking. This is because people like the sound of their own voice. When speaking in small groups, there is a tendency to wait for an opening to share a better story. I call this “one-upsmanship.”
The Secret is to “Listen.” Try to forget your personal experiences for the time being and focus on becoming interested in other people’s stories. (I know you have a lot to share, but for the time being, pretend that you don’t.) I refer to this as the Chamow Principle named after my neighbor Bob Chamow. Bob rarely shares his own stories, and he makes others feel super important by probing to keep them talking about themselves. (Did I mention that Bob is 92 and has a lot of stories of his own?)
Here is another human knee-jerk reaction I would like you to observe for yourself. I like to refer to it as the “me too … only better” scenario.
Here’s how it works:
Two or more people are standing around talking. One person shares a very important experience, trip, or celebration in their life. For example, they might say, “My husband and I just returned from a fantastic trip to Italy for our fortieth wedding anniversary.”
That single declarative sentence serves as an audio starting pistol. This initial story is interpreted by every other person in the conversation as a signal to chime in and attempt to one-up that experience at the first possible break in the conversation. The only word the group heard was “Italy,” which drove them immediately into their own personal data bank of experiences immediately rekindling a batch of their own personal Italian memories.
One person in the group might counter by saying, “Oh, we went to Italy last spring, and we had a great time on the Amalfi coast. From there, we traveled to Rome and just missed seeing the Pope by a few seconds. Then we …” Wait a minute. Weren’t we just talking about Amy and Phil’s trip to Italy?
Avoid playing the “me too only better” game if you can.
By this time, the third person in the group has been biting their tongue just waiting for a break in the action wide enough to jump in to share their personal trip to Tuscany, and how they picked grapes at an Italian winery favorably publicized in Conde Nast Magazine. The game is on. Around and around the stories go, with the initial person thinking to themselves, “What about my fortieth wedding anniversary?”
If you listen for this, you will soon see it happens all the time. ALL THE TIME. People are totally immersed in their own personal experiences, just waiting for the window of opportunity to open wide enough for them to fly through and take over the conversation. I am prepared to wager a significant amount of money that you are as guilty as the next man or woman when it comes to playing “one-upsmanship.”
Most people don’t care about anybody’s story but their own. (Sad but true.) Once you recognize this boorish behavior, you can work at eliminating it from your daily routine. It is truly an epidemic, and also an enormous opportunity for you to become somebody special if you can stop playing “I can top that!”
You become more interesting by becoming more interested.
By showing “genuine” interest in where they have gone and in what tale they are sharing, you will be held in high esteem, and they will instantly begin to value your friendship. Look at them while you are listening and focus on every word. This is a skill practiced by very few.
Here is my message: Get out of you and your stories…and into other people’s stories by showing interest and asking questions about them. Be on the lookout for these opportunities to establish yourself as a very interesting person simply by being interested in other people.
The proper response from you is to dig deeper into the speaker’s story.
Read this sentence…ten times:
“Nobody wants to hear my stories. I want to listen to others.”
This tip is of MAJOR importance. Please give this suggestion some time to become a habit. All you have to do to be considered an interesting person is to position yourself as a person who is interested in who you are speaking to or writing to.
|This is just one of the tips Mike Marchev offers High School Graduates who are preparing to enter a world that does not care if they succeed or fail. Do your son, daughter, niece, nephew or next-door neighbor a favor by presenting them with their own copy of 21 Life Changing Tips For The College Bound High School Graduate.
Mike presents a business-building webinar on the third Thursday of every month sponsored by AmaWaterways. To receive a complimentary invitation send Mike an email with the phrase “AmaWaterways” in the Subject Box. You will also receive a link to the recorded version.
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