The Engaging Communicators' Three-Letter Secret


Derek Sivers

Derek Sivers, A Wizard at Engagement


What makes a blog engaging?

Or your presentation?  Or conversation?

Consider three engaging communicators: Malcolm Gladwell, Seth Godin, Derek Sivers.  When they speak, people listen.

There's one obvious reason: they say interesting things.

But there's a second reason. They don't talk to us. They talk with us.

Look at these examples:

Godin (yesterday's blog): "You've probably been to the hotel that serves refrigerated tomatoes in January, that doesn't answer when you call the front desk. . .

Sivers (from his engaging TED talk on the importance of followers): "First, if you are the type. . .if you noticed, did you catch it?. . .If you really care about starting a movement. . ."

Gladwell (from Outliers): "I'm going to introduce you to one kind of outlier. . .Look back at the Medicine Hat roster. Do you see it now?

As Gladwell himself would now ask you: What did you just notice?

They use the word "you," as if each man is speaking only to you.

In the examples above, Sivers and Gladwell go a step further toward true conversation. They ask you a question. It's as if they want you to answer - to make conversation.

Dale Carnegie once wrote that every person loves hearing someone say our name. By using "you," these men come close to calling us by name, and bringing us into a conversation.

There's more to this.   When you write, simply using the word "you" leads you to think about that person.  What does that person feel and want to know?  How can I help?

So you'd love to create something that engages people, like an engaging blog, presentation, or video?

Start by talking to me and only me.  Use "you."

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