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QuickBites: How to Use the Most Powerful Word in Your Presentations

Which word in the English language do you believe is the most powerful? Of course, if you’re like most people, you’ll say it’s “please.”

 

Now, answer this question, please. Which word in the English language do you believe is the most powerful when it comes to speaking in public?

 

What did you come up with? If you said, “you,” then you and I are in total agreement. That’s right, “you” — y … o … u.

 

Why? Well, listen in, and you’ll learn how this simple word helps you and your talks connect more effectively with your individual audience members.

 

There’s an adage that states the sweetest sound to any given individual is their name. And there is probably a great deal of truth to this. However, when you’re speaking to groups of people, you can’t say everyone’s name. And that’s where the “you” and its cousin “your” come in.

 

You might be thinking, “Isn’t that what everyone does?” Sometimes, yes … it is. But more times than not, inexperienced speakers (and some experienced ones) use terms like “you guys,” “all of you,” “anyone,” or “everyone.”

 

Seemingly harmless, these words help keep you from connecting one-to-one with each person in the audience. Instead, they lump people into a crowd, which usually is not the goal of a speaker.

 

Listen to the difference. I opened this episode with the questions, “Which word in the English language do you believe is the most powerful? Of course, if you’re like most people, you’ll say it’s ‘please.'” 

 

Would it have had the same feeling if I had asked, “Which word in the English language do you guys believe is the most powerful? Of course, if you’re like most people, you’ll all say it’s please.” I don’t believe the second version is anywhere near as engaging as the first, especially on the subconscious level.

 

Other examples of this missed opportunity to have direct conversations with each audience member include questions such as, “How many of you played sports as a child?” Or “Every one of you can do this.”

 

Listen for the difference. “How many of you played sports as a child?”… or … “Did you play sports as a child?” 

 

Now for the second example. “Every one of you can do this.”… or … “You can do this.”

 

In both examples, the second version is more direct, more personal, and more engaging.

 

Now that you guys have heard how powerful the word “you” is, I challenge everyone to use it in your upcoming presentations. And I would appreciate it if all of you let me know how well you did.

 

Wait a minute … that’s not right. Scratch that.

 

Now that you’ve heard how powerful the word “you” is, I challenge you to use it in your upcoming presentations. And I would appreciate it if you let me know how well you did.

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