“YOU,” according to an oft-quoted Yale University study, is one of the 10 most powerful words.

Unfortunately, there’s no record of this study, never happened, it’s not a thing, although it certainly sounds like a thing.

YOU is still a good word. It makes you, the speaker, think about the YOU you’re speaking to.

Let’s assume your audience is not thinking about you. But if you suddenly say, YOU, they’ll notice.

“Oh,” they think, “I was just thinking about me, but here’s someone talking about me. I wonder what they’re saying about me?”

So YOU is a good word to know. But, by itself, insufficient.

Let’s consider another power word, this one research-tested: BECAUSE.

Imagine you’re using a copy machine, unaware there’s an experiment going on—and you’re about to be in it. Someone approaches you, and asks if he/she can cut in to use the machine. But gives no reason. You’re likely to comply about 60% of the time.

But if they say, “Can I use the copy machine BECAUSE I’m in a rush,” compliance shoots up to almost 95%.

And, incredibly, if they say, “Can I use the copy machine BECAUSE I have to make copies,” compliance is still almost 95% (“Scientist at Work: Ellen Langer,” NY Times, 9/23/97).

What does this mean—for you?

1) It’s surprisingly easy, when using a copy machine, to go brain-dead.

2) When you give people a reason to do something, they’re more likely do it.

Let’s return to your presentation.  Your instinct, when preparing, is to stress-test it from your perspective: How will you remember everything?

Wrong question.

Let’s stress-test it from the audience perspective: How will they remember anything?

Fill in the blank: YOU need to hear this BECAUSE _______. (You don’t need to say these exact words, of course. But you do need to know the answer.)

Tip:  Your audience has absolutely no reason to pay attention. So give them one, right away. And make it about them.

Note:  YOU appeared 22 times in this tip.

P.S. Increase your impact. Consider—for you or your team:

1) Virtual workshop—I’ve been leading Dynamic Speaking, a four-session course for small teams. We practice how to get heard, get remembered, and get results.

2) Webinars—Let’s develop a few key skills. Sample webinars: Your Point?; The Power of Presence; Challenging Conversations; Bulletproof Feedback . . .

Click here for all 12 programs.

3) 1-1 Coaching—If you’d like to work privately, and have one or more upcoming messages/presentations, I’ll help you with design (what to say) and/or delivery (how to say it).

Click here for details.

P.P.S. Rather just read a book?

You’ve Got 8 Seconds: Communication Secrets for a Distracted World—named one of the best biz books of the year by an obscure, but obviously brilliant, Canadian newspaper.

Selected by a Fortune 50 company for their book club, translated into five languages, received a 4.4 Amazon rating (234 reviews), it’s available in print, kindle and audio.

To get these fast tips, click here

PAUL HELLMAN consults & speaks internationally on how to make your point—fast, focused, powerful.

Please email info@expresspotential.com or call 508-879-0934, or visit Express Potential for more info.

© Copyright 2021 Paul Hellman.  All rights reserved.