the Power of "You"...

How are you today Bob inquired of Sue as he walks into their shared office area.  Well let me ask you this, how many of your sentences include the word “you” in them as Bobs above did?  Also, do “you” start off conversations with the inquisition or implication of “you” in them or do you instead, tend to use “I” as in, Bob said “I had a great morning” to Sue as he walks into their shared office area? Why is this important you ask?

In asking “you” means to inquire of the other person, and to open up ourselves to the individual we wish to communicate with in a way to attune to that persons thinking.  To achieve this, the first step is to “attune” our thoughts and actions with another person who we wish to interact with.  This part is of particular importance as many people forget that since they are initiating the interaction, their obligation is to assume the “receptive” role through out the enactment rather than taking a dominant stance within the relational dance which they have created.

Think about it this way, we typically open conversations with “how are you” inquiring about the person as a courtesy to start our discussion.  However in this verbal dance, the “retort” to this query and do mean “retort” is the usual “fine and yourself“, thus passing back control of the conversation to the initiator.  However the reason for mentioning this as a retort and not a response as in at least the western world, this has become no more really then an opening placeholder or hallow gesture of common greeting much like talking about the weather.

This is also where most conversations and hence opportunities for “attunement” break down as the conversation is passed back to the originator where many less skilled conversationalists will switch from “you” mode to “I” mode which is a recipe for alienation and non-attunement with the other person.  To avoid this, it is critical to continue to carry on with the “you” theme and work toward building alignment with our conversational guest drawing them in closer with the use of further “you” based questions or implication such as “you did a great job with that presentation yesterday”.

Also the word “I” should be avoided at all costs in conversations written and oral as even used in granting appreciation it creates a flawed intent as if you were to say “I just wanted to say thank you” again it’s fulfilling  your “want” even in sharing something which is meant to be someone else’s “thank you“.  A better way would be to say “please accept my thanks” or even just “thank you”, as note it starts out with a “request for permission” and doesn’t imply the grantors “want“.  However the concept of not using “I” could be a blog post if not a book in itself.  So take the high road and avoid its use, it might take a bit however you can do it!

Back to the topic of “you“, it’s also good form to incorporate “you” at least three more times in the front end of the exchange to break down or at least reduce the resistance level in communications.  As interaction barriers break down or better put lessen [as it might take several conversations to fully break down], the likely hood of striking attunement with the person increases.  Now, if it’s not obvious why this is important, let’s step back for a minute in our thinking as the reason which we enter into a conversation in the first place is to share or exchange something.  Be-it information, opinions or even selling a car, the more attuned the parties are to one another the more effective the exchange will be.  Thus, the more successful the communication, the higher level of attunement and therefore the more likely our goals are to be achieved…


About Joseph Campbell

As a strong believer in the fact that "people work for people", it has been a life driver to better to understand the complexities of the various aspects which drive efficiency within this axiom, especially the concepts of leadership. Supporting this, I have been fortunate enough to having experienced this as leader on a global basis over the last decade and half. During this time it has been clear there are three core drivers being Life, Leadership and Economics.
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