Yeah I know – there’s only one ‘you’ to count, right?
But check the way you write your business communications… emails you send to your list… replies on Messenger and Whatsapp… blog posts, your about page…
In the things that you write, how often does ‘I’ show up?
Ah… suddenly there’s a lot more of ‘you’ to count…
Look, it’s natural to reference self when writing. After all it’s us, ‘I’, in dialogue with someone else.
But most business writing is full of self-reference and the word ‘I’ shows up so much, that the reader can’t help but feel that it’s not about them.
And then they’re lost, they stop reading, they unsubscribe, or don’t follow up on your proposal.
So to make your business writing better, remember a few ground rules:
Never start a message with ‘I’. You might be the most loving and compassionate person in the world, but when ‘I’ leads the message, the reader reads ‘self-important’.
Following on from that: Avoid as much as possible, starting a sentence with ‘I’. Reason: see above, but cumulative.
Ok so with that, you’ve edited and improved your missive. Well done.
But if you count self, you see there’s still a lot of ‘I’ in there… now what?
Replace each ‘I’ with ‘you’, see how it breaks the sentence, and then: rewrite the sentence so that you keep ‘you’ and it makes sense again.
Do that with each instance of ‘I’, and you’ll be sending messages that instead of driving people away because it *feels* like it’s all about you, will draw people in to working with you, because the absence of that ‘I’ focus allows them to relate your message to themselves.
Make people feel it’s about them, and they get closer – which is pretty damn required if they’re going to buy from you.
One of the things I love doing for clients, is take their pieces of copy and knock them into shape.
I’ve done it a lot so it’s a quick jobbie, and for my clients it’s great, because they can focus on doing their work, while they get a pro to create written business communication that causes sales.
It’s not that I sell that as a service, but it’s a nice – and super profitable, for my clients – bonus to give. Like that series I wrote a few weeks ago, and which helped my client net almost $10k in five days.
Could be the kind of help you have in your corner.
Maybe we should talk?
Also published on Medium.