Power Presentations Tip 38: You are the one

You want this?

What is the most important word for you to use in your presentation?

This word is crucial to your success as a presenter. Every time you use this word it grabs the attention of your listeners. The absence of this word will tell your listeners that you are not talking to them. Thus they won't listen as well.

The magic word is "You".

The word "You" connects with your listener. It demonstrates that you are talking to them, with them and about them. Suddenly you will have an interested listener.

You probably know that the sweetest sound for anyone is the sound of their own name. The next best thing is the word "you".

The principle of connecting with someone is that they must believe that you care about them and have something of value for them. Designing your sentences to include the word "you" will force you to think about what's in it for them and present from their point of view. That mind shift will help you be much more engaging and convincing.

What word should you use least of all?

That word is "I". Because every time you say "I" it's clear that you are talking about yourself not your listener. That will tend to be boring and appear egotistical.

I'm not saying that you must not use the word "I". Just use it less and look for every opportunity to turn "I" into "you" or at least "we". "We" is better than "I" but not as effective as "you".

A simple test of your presentation effectiveness is to compare the number of "you's" against the number of "I's". There should be more "you's" than "I's".

Here are three examples:

If you are demonstrating a product, say, "After you press the start button, you can..."

If you are explaining your service, "This is what I will do for you..."

If you are describing an event, "If you had been there, this is what you would have seen..."

Be more engaging, interesting and effective. It depends on you.

George Torok
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Fred E. Miller said...

YOU made a great point here, George!

I once saw a speaker talk so much about herself that I started making hash marks on paper with the heading, "Who Cares?"

Unfortunately, I filled the page before she finally concluded her presentation.


George Torok said...


Thanks for your illustration. Speakers must remember that often the audience is thinking "Who cares?"

Kristin Arnold said...

Completely agree, George! Another important word to use is "We", "ours" or "us" - especially when you are asking the audience to do something. Rather than saying "I want you to....", you can say "Let's..." It is much more inclusive and inviting!

George Torok said...