A Human Approach

Jae Rang Headshot

Enough About Me

Several years ago, the New York Telephone Company made a detailed study of conversations to identify the most commonly used word.  Can you guess what it would be? It was the word “I”.

The word, “I”, was used 3,900 times in 500 conversations.

(Kind of creepy to think of how they may have got that information, but we’ll save “cyber security” for another Aha!)

The truth is, we think about, talk about, write about, post about and act about what is most important to ourselves at any given moment. We are the centre of our own Youniverse. “I” is our favourite subject.

I received unexpected, yet very welcomed, call from my adorable 10-year-old step granddaughter last night. She wanted to thank me for the birthday gift I gave her (she was not home when I dropped it off). Our conversation lasted about 10 minutes and was entirely me asking questions about her; her birthday party, how winter baseball practices were going, what was keeping her interest at school, what was her favourite colour for clothes this spring and what kind of pictures she was drawing in her new journal book. At her age, she didn’t have much interest in my life – understandable – so I kept the questions coming so she could share – and I could learn – all of what was important to her.

Many adults enjoy this kind of conversation, too. We love to feel important in our circles and enjoy when those we are with take an interest to ask about us.

But when we’re connecting with others, specifically when we’re working to build relationships, followings or a customer base, sharing about ourselves needs to be not only relevant to those we want to attract, but focused on what is important to them.

In grade four we learned how to write a letter to someone.  The teacher encouraged us to start the sentences with something other than the word “I”.  It was difficult! We are so used to living from our perspective!  She insisted we take the side of the reader when composing and design the letter to share our information or sentiments but from the reader’s point of view.  We had to jump in their shoes and write in a way that would be of interest to the receiver.  That takes effort….but like all meaningful effort, becomes a habit.

In, “What Life Should Mean to You” by Viennese psychologist, Alfred Adler, he writes, “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others.  It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

Aha!  ~ “I have discovered from personal experience that one can win the attention and time and cooperation of even the most sought-after people by becoming genuinely interested in them.” ~ Dale Carnegie.

The word here is “genuine”.  You can make a profound connection with someone – whether it is your mate, your child, your staff, your audience or your support worker – when you sincerely relate to them on all levels.

Look for the connection and you’ll both win.

I wanted SO much to be streaming on YouTube this week but haven’t had the time to properly engineer the shift. So, one more week here with a BIG discussion on how to fine tune your message to turn some serious heads. It’s not easy but it’s worth it!!

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