Break the rule?

Wow,

With the best of intentions, it took me very little effort to completely ignore the rule about providing benefits to the reader in yesterday’s post. What do I mean? To help explain, I’m going to recount (i.e. cut and paste) what I wrote on my plan for my first newsletter:

To start the process, here’s what I’m thinking of for the first edition:

1. An article on this blog, and what I’ve done with it so far.
2. An article on Moving Forward, which is one of my signature themes.
3. And of course, an article on what Talk to the Human™  really means.

What is the problem with this? I’m glad you asked. The problem is that the description isn’t very YOU focused. By YOU, I mean you, the reader. In other words, I spent three lines telling you what I wanted to tell you, instead of telling you what you will gain from that first newsletter. How could I have done better? Another good question! You are spot-on today. Here’s version 2.0:

To start the process, here’s what you can expect to learn from the first issue:

1. How blogging can help you capture your thoughts and ideas. Plus, how to avoid some simple pitfalls.
2. Follow three easy steps to identify the right track (it may be under your feet), and start Moving Forward toward your goals.
3. Four keys to taking the talk off-line and on-point. Talk to the Human™ isn’t just a catchy phrase, it’s a path you can follow to see greater success.

So, is that any better? Maybe it’s not the most significant improvement in literary history, but I think you can see how the second version might be more attractive to potential readers (i.e. YOU). If you don’t agree, you may not realize that your eyes are currently closed. It’s okay, I’ve typed a couple of blogs at 2:00am (one of the possible pitfalls), so I know how some of you schedule your on-line time (think: Facebook chat feature – I can see if you’re on-line). I won’t call you out by name, but you know who you are.

My point of this post is to correct what was a less-than-effective method and make the adjustment to the you-focused syntax for better clarity. This is one of the best simple, but not always easy, changes any of us can make when we speak. After getting some very specific advice on this, I’ve been working on this myself over the last few months. I’ve found that it’s still the default in my mindset to start with “I…” when I speak. Some examples include:

1. I’m going to talk about…
2. I’m going to tell you…
3. I want you to learn…
4. I hope that…
5. We’re going to talk about…

It’s good to tell people what you’re going to tell them, but it’s better to tell them how they’re going to benefit from giving you their time. Here are some recommended fixes I’ve learned from other speakers:

a. You’ll receive 3 tools to…
b. You’re going to hear the 4 keys to…
c. In the next 30 minutes, you’re going to learn…

Also, don’t tell them “I hope bla…bla…bla…” Your audience doesn’t care what you hope, just what they will get. I had a commander once that said “hope is not a plan.” If you hope to do something, I invite you to practice a few more times until you’re sure. Then, use option a, b, c, or another you-focused opening.

I harp on the hope wording because I like to mention my hope when I speak. It hasn’t been easy to move past this problem, since I seem to hope a lot of things.

Focusing your conversations on the benefits to your audience by using you-focused statements is an important rule to follow. This is one you shouldn’t break when you speak to an audience, or when you type to one in your blog. Keep those thoughts you-focused, and your audience will be back for more…

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