Make It Happen Tipsheet
Translating Knowledge to Action

Remember First, Second, Third

Many blogs I read I don't like - the posts have no interest to me.

Have you ever read a blog posting or listened to a presentation where the topic didn't resonate, or where you felt excluded? If so, the writer made a common mistake: "you" were squeezed out by "I".

John Smith had travelled the world, so he was surprised when he got a call from his credit card company. This is what they said...

These three examples engage the reader in different ways. The first, written in the first person, is all about the writer; it is self-centered, and doesn't engage at all. The second, written in the second person, is a conversation between the writer (or speaker) and you: engagement is higher because you're involved. The third example, written in the third person, is a story where the two of you are discovering what happens together as the story unfolds. This can have the highest engagement factor.

If you want your colleagues, clients, suppliers, friends and family to remember what you say, then you must find a way to engage them when you are communicating. Too often, when we speak or write - even the simplest of interactions - we use language that excludes, and we never create the engagement we need. Speaking or writing using the second or third person is a quick way to turn this around.

This week's action plan: During your next critical presentation, take your audience with you with example stories, and personalize the rest by using "you" instead of "I". While it may feel uncomfortable, with practice it will come naturally. Using the second and third person always means you'll come in first. (Or, at least be remembered for the right reasons.)


Randall Craig is an expert on Social Media Strategy and Social Media Policy; to find out how his workshops, webinars, and keynotes can help your team or add to your event, contact him through, or by email at

Make It Happen Tipsheet
Comments or questions? let us know:

Copyright © 2010 Knowledge to Action Press and Randall Craig. All rights reserved.
Publication Date: Oct 12, 2010

>>To newsletter index
Enjoy this newsletter?
Forward it to a friend!

If you received it, and are interested in subscribing, please fill out the form below:

First Name:
Last Name:


(To prevent spam, an email will be sent to the subscriber, asking them to confirm their subscription.)

More on the web:
Pinetree Advisors: Helping organizations respond to complex challenges.
For Corporations: Tools for Increasing Employee Retention
Latest Social Media Books
Randall Craig's new blog!

Twitter: @RandallCraig