When it comes to communication, the most powerful word is “you.” It doesn’t matter what language, the power of the word “you” is universal. When this word is used, you put the focus on the other person, not on yourself, and the results can be magical.
This is such a powerful concept that it can literally change your business for the better. In communicating your message most effectively, whether in advertising, in person or business writing, it is really about the other person or their needs, their interest, their desires. When people read or listen to a message and it has their name or “you” or “yours” in it, it automatically becomes about them and the benefits they will experience.
It removes the self serving “I need” focus that many people use either in writing or in person. Let us face it your needs are not of interest to others.
I will give you an example of this principle at work. Let us say that you run a business and you are processing payroll. You have been having trouble getting people to turn their time card in on time. You could express your frustration in a memo and say, “I need time cards or I can’t process payroll. I need to finish my job, so that I can go home for the weekend.” Or you could express the same request, but frame it around their needs. “Please turn in your timecard so that you will have a check available on Monday and you have money to pay your bills.”
Now, which one do you think is going to get a better response? When you naturally lead to the benefit the other person is going to experience, they feel a sense of ownership in what they need to do.
When writing or speaking, ask yourself, “How would apply to their life?” It transfers ownership to the other person. They can see it in their frame of reference.
All people, at one point or another, are tuned into that radio station WII FM – What Is In It For Me. As a communicator, you need to be conscious of what it’s in it for my audience, prospect, kids or reader. It sets the stage when you write, it draws the final curtain.
Here is how you can analyze your messages:
1. Take a rough draft of your message and use two color highlighters.
2. Highlight all the “I, me, my” references in yellow.
3. Read it again and highlight all the “you, your” and reader’s name in blue.
4. Step back and look at the colors. Is there more blue than yellow? If not, go back to the drawing board and reshape it so that the main focus is on the other person.
When you begin to incorporate the word “you” into your communication, both written and in person, you will be amazed by the outcome you will see.