When you communicate with your stakeholders—be they customers, prospects, employees, or others—of course you want them to pay attention. A simple rule of thumb: Focus your communication on them. I call it “from me to you.”
Let’s compare the point of attention and impact in the following communications:
|audience||me in focus||you in focus|
|Employee||We are implementing a new Paycard service that will save us time and money.||You will receive a Paycard that you can use to access your money faster, and pay bills with greater ease.|
|Vendor||Before we can fill your invoice, we will need to test the product for two weeks.||You may expect to receive your payment in two weeks.|
|We have developed a new recipe to make better pancakes.||You can make perfect pancakes from the very first batch.|
|We have a new catalog with hundreds of new home and garden products.||You can receive a new catalog featuring hundreds of new products for your home.|
In each of the examples above, as the focus shifts from me (or we or us) to you (or your), the message gains personal relevance. The strategy behind this rule is transparent. When you shift the focus to them you force yourself to articulate the added value. When your audience sees added value, they are more prone to act. In business, we seek action.
The redirection from me to you is simple. Instead of first-person pronouns such as I, me, myself, my, mine, we, us, ourselves, our, and ours, restate your message using second-person pronouns that refer to who is being spoken to, such as you, yourself, your, and yours. Next, identify the benefit they will receive—it is of central importance. You can, of course, include a more complete perspective, making clear the added benefit for your company, but the bottom line should echo what’s taught in Dale Carnegie workshops about people and relationships: “Try to see things from the other’s point of view.” Avoid jargon, and keep your communications declarative and direct. These few guidelines will help you adopt the practice used by the world’s best communicators.
In summary, transform your communications so that they are the star of the show.