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Entries in talk shows (1)

Friday
Mar212014

The Importance of Being "I"

So here's a pet peeve that has incredibly positive implications if it can be turned around.

All it takes is changing one word.

When I tell someone about an experience or a story or I answer a question, I'm committed to saying "I."

Not "you." As in, "You know how, when .... " or "You know, when you ...".

For example, "I tune out when I hear about orphanages because it's too painful." Or, "I know that when I answer the phone a certain way I can affect whether someone wants to talk with me." Or, "I always want to do this little exercise before sitting down to write."

Here's what I didn't say.

"You tune out when you hear about orphanages because it's too painful." " Or, "You know how, when you answer the phone a certain way, you can affect whether someone wants to talk with you?" Or, "You always want to do this little exercise before sitting down to write."

The speaker uses "you" even though he/she is talking about something personal.

This happens in conversation all the time.

When I hear someone speak in the third person about something they experienced or something they espouse or something they believe, I immediately tune out. I feel distanced from the speaker. Why? Because it's not *my* experience. It's *their* experience. The story does not feel authentic because the teller is not owning it. Saying "you" isn't inclusive. It's actually distancing and distracting.

Every guest on every talk show should approach their interviews by committing to using the first person "I." It's important to your message. What you say will have a more authentic impact on the audience.

And every talk show host should insist that her/his guests use the first person when responding to questions. (Ellen, are you listening?) I don't understand why no one has insisted on this before.

Being "I" is so important. Being "I" is welcoming and intriguing.

Next time you listen to a guest on a talk show, replace the word "you" with "I" and feel what a difference changing one word -- changing a point of view -- alters how you feel about what the guest is saying.