The Bore.

Ugh. THAT person. The one you avoid at a party or family gathering, slip away from as quickly as possible at networking events (“Would you just LOOK at the time!”), or ghost after a first date… if not during the date.

They are The Bore, and it’s all about them. The only personal pronouns they know are me, myself, and I.

“I do this…”

“My that…”

Me. Me. Me. Me!

On and on, they drone.

Will they ever stop? Probably not.

“But I would never be that person!”

True, you would not be that person in person. However, it is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of I-Me-My when producing marketing content and copy. Why?

Writing in the first person comes naturally to most people when communicating as an expert. You are writing or speaking about your ideas, knowledge, experience, what you do, and how you do it; you are the central point of reference.

But if you want to attract and keep your audience’s attention, you must shift the focus from all about you to all about your reader/listener/viewer. You are the guide; your audience is the hero. It’s ALL about them.

The Mayor.

Just like you have likely experienced at least one Bore in your life, you have also likely had the experience of meeting someone who, even in a brief and casual conversation, made you feel at ease, even important. You probably thought, “I’d like to get to know this person better.”

I call this person The Mayor because they are like the quintessential small-town mayor who takes the time to connect and demonstrate a genuine interest in others, and people naturally like them in return.

What makes The Mayor so magnetic?

Is The Mayor better looking than The Bore? Nope. Have more money? 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, your celebrations, and your struggles. They want to know all about who you are and what you do. Another person’s interest in you is like a nectar-laden flower laden to a hungry bee. We want to keep buzzing around that sweetness and taking in more, more, more!

Working with human nature.

The mayor’s gravitational pull is simply a law of human nature at work, and you can harness that law in your business. We are all wired with a drive to self-interest because it’s part of our survival wiring.

However, it is also why we get caught in the trap of communicating like The Bore. Being aware of this at work and knowing how to flip the positioning from me to you can dramatically improve the results of your marketing communication.

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 adds, “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.”

The first step is to think 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 effortlessly and authentically orient your communication to be you-focused rather than I-focused.

The Bore can undermine your marketing communication in your…

  • Lead and sales page copy
  • Blog posts
  • Newsletters and email communication
  • Video scripts
  • Social media posts

4 Easy Personal Pronoun Pivots

1. Cancel Yourself 

Before publishing or posting, review or, better still, have someone else review what you have written or intend to communicate with an eye to eliminating most if not all of the I’s, me’s, and my’s. This can mean deleting entire sentences or unnecessary personal anecdotes. The only exception is when the use of those personal pronouns is essential for the accuracy and clarity of the communication, which, to be frank, is not very often.

2. Spotlight Your Audience

In many cases, making the pivot is as simple as substituting you and yours instead of I, me, and my, plus minor grammar adjustments for clarity. Even though your marketing communication is technically a one-sided situation, this small pivot is the key to being perceived as The Mayor. It is a simple yet powerful way to help your audience feel that you understand their needs and that you care. If you’re stuck pivoting from I-focused to you-focused, try turning an I-driven statement into a you-oriented question.

3. Make It Non-Personal 

If the I to you pivot is awkward, making the sentence’s subject non-personal can often be just the fix, especially for communication 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 or a pain point.

4. What About Us?

The problem with us is that the intensity of the feels is softened by the collective pronouns we, us, and our. This is used frequently in spiritual development when the writer is sensitive to making the receiver uncomfortable, so the writer “joins” the receiver in the pain through a collective pronoun. However, this diminishes the ability of the communication to convert. Communication that converts enables the receiver to feel the pain – or the desire – AND to trust that you are the right and perfect person to help them solve the problem.

 

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