How tuned-in are you?

headphone womanHow to engage and be engaging (or not)

We’ve all been there, haven’t we? Either listening to or reading about someone telling you all the things they want, think, need or do.  “Well, I went here and I said that and then I did this and then I said that. Well, I mean, who do they think I am?  I said ‘well, I want to introduce this now’ and I was adamant.  So, I finally got what I wanted.”  Now as you read that back and notice, in reality, whilst a fairly strident bit of dialogue, it’s entirely possible to hear that every single day in some part of our daily life.  Eleven times the word ‘I’ appears – and not once does the word ‘we’, ‘you’, ‘us’ or ‘our’ appear.

Speaking like this is simply one thing.  Dull.  You can still pick up the ‘I’s clearly enough, but writing it like this is something else entirely.  In written form, they’re so easy to spot as we scan through a message – email, letter, report, article and too many ‘I, I, I’ just switches people off (especially if you start every paragraph with I). We all want to know where we fit in, how it affects us and what’s in it for us.

WII FM – What’s In It For Me? 

It has been called something along the lines of ‘the radio show everyone’s listening to.’

Notice it.  Here’s the rub:  In general, people don’t care so much about what we think, want and need as much as they care about what they think, want and need.  It is tough for some of us to hear I know, but, if we’re really honest with ourselves, we know what people really care about is what they think, want and need.  They are always – as we often are – filtering it through that fictitious radio show ‘WII FM?’  So try to make it more about them and less about you.  You’re still in there but it doesn’t have to be all me, myself and I.  You’re far more engaging and compelling to other people if you make it more about them and a lot less about you.

So when do you use ‘I’? 

How I find it works is to make the story, issue etc., personal with ‘I’ and then relate it to ‘we’ so it becomes, for example, ‘I’m so thrilled I’m invited to X’s meeting too.  You know it’s going to be good and we’ll learn something about what’s going on.  I will make sure the team knows the headlines as soon as I get back’.  Notice how it’s become less about ‘I’ and more about ‘us’ and ‘them’ and the ripple effect keeps people engaged and open to you.

‘We’, ‘our’ and ‘us’ is inclusive language.  It gives the listener or reader the sense that we are in this together and that they are included.  ‘We did’, ‘we know’, ‘as a company we’re striving to’, versus ‘I’, ‘I’m’, ‘me’, ‘mine’ and ‘my’ – for the listener or reader it becomes so, well, dull and boring.  We’ve all heard someone ‘banging on’ like that haven’t we? I know I have!

‘There’s no ‘I’ in team – but there’s ‘me’, if you look hard enough’.  A cute play on the words I know.  You are in there and you’re part of the team – whatever your team happens to be, professional, family, sports or friends but it’s not all about you, is it?  Or is it?

Let’s make it your time to shine, in your own way. When would now be a better time to go for Promotion, Recognition and Rewards?

For more information and immediately helpful tips on how to connect and be valued and heard in business:

 Here’s a helpful, immediate Gift for you. Q is for Questions – A downloadable PDF of a chapter from my # 1 best-selling book The A to Z of Being Understood.

 Use the chapter to lead conversations, to be more compelling when you first meet someone and – crucially – connect with colleagues, clients, customers by the power of your confident questions.

About the author

Kay White is our Show Up & Sparkle blogger. Known as the Savvy & Influential Communication Expert for Ambitious Women in Business, Kay shows professional women how to attract promotion, recognition and rewards at work without feeling they have to ’sell their soul. Kay shows her clients, who are corporate career women at all different stages of their careers, how to naturally attract more income and opportunity all while being true to themselves. Combining strategic moves with influencing skills plus compelling and assertive language and powerful mindsets, Kay draws on her own 20+ years corporate career in the very male-dominated world of London insurance broking. She started at 18 as a Secretary and left as a Director to start her own business. Hosting an annual 3-day Event for corporate women “Show Up; Sparkle & Be Heard LIVE” Kay encourages and shows women how to be the best, most valuable version of themselves. Kay is author of the Number 1 Best-Seller “The A to Z of Being Understood” and you can connect and find out more from Kay at :

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