Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Use of the Word "I'

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I ran across this tip in an article from the Executive Leadership Newsletter and I thought it was really interesting and one worth recommending. The title of the article was called, Talk Like a Leader and in this article it suggests reducing the use of the word “I” when communicating information in a team situation. 

So, one example would be to take the word “I” out when you are communicating an issue or a problem. 

Here are two examples – pay close attention to how different each sounds:
Example 1 – Using the word “I”. “I have a problem with the tech support manager who doesn’t organize time well.”  What seems to happen when the I is used here is it makes you the issue versus the issue of the tech manager having problems with not being organized. It sounds as if YOU have the problem. So the focus shifts from the issue -  to you.

Now, let’s rephrase that statement by taking out the word “I”. “The tech support manager doesn’t organize time well”. Wow, what a difference in how that sounds!

Example #2: If the CEO asks you for your opinion about a business deal ...With the “I” - “I feel it was a winner or I really like the way we handled it”. Without the “I” - “It worked because we negotiated several key concessions” or “we won by forcing his hand”, so the shift was from “I” to “We” and it turns into a statement of observation. 

I’m thinking there may be some times when you’ll want to strategically use the word “I”. Yet, I think this is a useful way to consider how you’re positioning yourself in the mind of the listener and what perception you’re creating about you as a team member.

I believe that it could increase your creditability and competence to really consider the strategic use of the word “I”.

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