How To Use Pronouns In Your Writing To Stop Sounding Preachy (And People Trust You)
How to perfectly use ‘You’, ‘We’, and ‘I’ to build trust.
Heyo 👋 Jordan here,
For everything I wrote or said on video, I received the same feedback:
“Why are you so preachy?”
Now, my ideas didn’t come from a bad place – I just wanted to help. But people didn’t hear them like that. They heard it as me preaching to them how to live their lives.
After 3 years of banging my head against the wall, I finally cracked the code.
I was saying mostly the right things. I was making a lot of sense. I even tapped into emotion here and there.
But I was using the wrong pronouns.
They made me sound like I was giving orders instead of helping.
👨💼 Don’t tell people what to do
I’ve tried and failed to tell people what to do for 25 years.
It took me to become a leader to finally understand that that is not the way.
The biggest part of communication is your mindset.
We all think and feel differently. If you told me to do something, I’d probably not want to do it.
Unless I had a lot of trust in you.
So, if you can:
Share your ideas.
Share your knowledge.
Share your experience.
But never tell people what to do.
It doesn't work.
🧃 When to use the You, We, and I pronouns (the framework)
Here’s the framework:
Use "You” when you’re talking to your reader. That’s your default. Every benefit should be for “you”; the reader.
I use that 80% of the time.
Use “We” when you’re generalizing things.
We don’t like being generalized, but we like generalizations.
Use “I” when talking about the negative part of anything.
If you talk from experience and own it, people will relate where it matters to them.
❤️ The right pronouns build trust
In my experience, just using the right pronouns 10Xed my communication.
I wasn’t saying anything different. I was often sharing the exact same ideas. But I did it right.
Why I think this happens:
You won’t raise people’s barriers by using “you” effectively.
Our social status is an important asset, and the wrong pronoun can associate your readers with the wrong idea.
You’ll leverage emotion by using “we” effectively.
Have you noticed how we’re all more careful about our close ones’ well-being compared to ours?
Using “we” in communication triggers that.
You will be more trustworthy by using “I” effectively.
Ownership builds trust. By owning the mistakes you highlight, you sound more human, more real, and more trustworthy.
This whole newsletter is one big example.
Your biggest fan,
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