Our Thinking

Remember First, Second, Third

Many blogs I read I don’t like – the posts have no interest to me.

Have you ever read a blog posting or listened to a presentation where the topic didn’t resonate, or where you felt excluded? If so, the writer made a common mistake: “you” were squeezed out by “I”.

John Smith had travelled the world, so he was surprised when he got a call from his credit card company. This is what they said…

The above three examples engage the reader in different ways. The first, written in the first person, is all about the writer; it is self-centered, and doesn’t engage at all. The second, written in the second person, is a conversation between the writer (or speaker) and you: engagement is higher because you’re involved. The third example, written in the third person, is a story where the two of you are discovering what happens together as the story unfolds. This can have the highest engagement factor.

If you want your colleagues, clients, suppliers, friends and family to remember what you say, then you must find a way to engage them when you are communicating. Too often, when we speak or write – even the simplest of interactions – we use language that excludes, and we never create the engagement we need. Speaking or writing using the second or third person is a quick way to turn this around.