We all know THAT person. The one you avoid at a party or a family gathering, slip away from as quickly as possible at networking events (“Would you just LOOK at the time!”), or ghost immediately after a first date, if not sooner.
They are, The Bore! And what makes them a bore is it’s all about them. ALL about them. The only personal pronouns they know are: me, myself and I.
Me. Me. Me. Me!
On and on they drone.
Will they ever stop? Unlikely.
When it comes to making an impression with your marketing communication, the last thing you want to come across to your audience as, is a bore. You would never be that way in person, and a few simple checks will ensure that you don’t inadvertently become The Bore to your audience.
Some of the more common places we see The Bore wreaking havoc include:
- Lead and sales page copy
- Blog posts
- Newsletters and email communication
- Video scripts
- Social media posts
Me, myself and I.
Writing in first person with a heavy rotation of me, myself and I, is an easy trap to fall into because you are writing about your ideas, your knowledge, your experience, what it is that you do and how you do it. The use of my, me and I is what comes naturally. But, if you want to attract and keep your audience’s attention, it’s essential that you take the time to put the focus on your reader/listener/viewer rather than you or your brand.
Putting the focus on them, helps your prospect or customer feel heard and understood, even though you are the one doing the “talking.” When people feel heard and understood, they have a natural affinity with you; they like you, even if they can’t say exactly why.
Just like we have all experienced, “The Bore,” we have also had the experience of meeting someone who, even in a brief and casual conversation, made you feel at ease. You enjoyed their company and thought, “I’d enjoy getting to know this person better.” They’re like the quintessential small town mayor who knows everyone and everyone in their town knows and likes them too!
Is “The Mayor” type better looking than The Bore? Have more money or influence? Doubtful.
The difference between The Bore and The Mayor is that The Mayor is interested in you. They ask questions and are genuinely curious about your life, your people, who you are and what you do. Another person’s interest in us is like the nectar of a flower to a bee. We just want to keep buzzing around that sweetness and taking in more, more, more!
Working with human nature.
This tendency to gravitate to The Mayor doesn’t mean you’re selfish! It’s simply human nature. We are all wired with a bit o’ the narcissism because it serves our ability to survive as well as allows us to create healthy boundaries. Being a doormat is not a virtue.
However, when it comes to building rapport with your audience, the more you shift from using the personal pronouns I, me and my to you and yours, the greater will be your know-like-trust quotient with your audience.
And who do people buy from? People they like and feel they can trust. Not just some of the time, but all of the time.
Make your customer the hero.
Donald Miller, author of Building A Story Brand, says, “your customer is the hero of your story, not your brand.” He goes on to say, “When we position our customer as the hero and ourselves as the guide, we will be recognized as a trusted resource to help them overcome their challenge.”
So the first step is to begin thinking about your brand as a helpful guide or way-shower rather than the main character or “hero” in the hero’s journey. Making the mental pivot from your brand as the hero of your story to your customer as the hero, will help you to effortless and authentically orient your communication to being you-focused rather than I-focused.
Additional tips for making a personal pronoun pivot.
Remove yourself: Before publishing or posting, review what you have written or intend to communicate (or better still have someone else review), with an eye to eliminating all the I’s, me’s and my’s. The only exception is when use of those personal pronouns is essential for the accuracy and clarity of the communication which, to be frank, is not very often.
Add your reader/viewer/listener: In many cases, making the pivot is as simple as using you and yours in place of I, me and my plus a few additional minor grammar adjustments for clarity. This is the key to being perceived as a Mayor-type even though your marketing communication is technically a one-sided situation. Shifting from I’s to you’s however, is a simple yet powerful way to help your audience feel that you care about them. One technique that works if you’re stuck on making the the I-you pivot is to try shifting an I-focused statement into a you-oriented question.
Get non-personal: Can the sentence or phrase be better stated with no personal reference at all? Making the subject non-personal can often be just the fix especially for communication that is intended to inform or teach. This also opens up the opportunity of positioning your audience as the direct object or receiver of the action in the sentence which is an effective technique for helping your audience get into a feeling state for either a benefit and a pain point.
Make heavy use of “you/yours” when you want your audience to feel: This is critical for communication that you want to illicit an action – buy, register, opt in, etc. The intensity of the feels is softened by pronouns such as we and our. The writer is feeling uncomfortable with making the receiver too uncomfortable so the writer “joins” the receiver in the pain! However, this only diminishes the ability of the copy to convert. High converting copy makes the receiver feel the pain AND feel that you are the right and perfect person to help them solve the problem that is causing the pain.
Why? Because they like you!