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You Is Not You

February 9, 2016 fm

I’ve heard it so many times. Blog posts like this one promote it everywhere and constantly. As a speaker you should reduce the me-centered “I” and use more the you-centered “You”.  Following this advice MLK jr. would’ve said, “You have a dream!”

Yeah, sure!

Some articles promote a you-I-ratio of 10:1! The assumption behind: Self-centered speech turns off the audience. Following this blog, you know that I couldn’t disagree more. You know which one is the most connecting letter for me. But this is not another article celebrating the emotional, vulnerable, inspiring letter “I”… “I deeply regret that I never called my friend Frank. Today, it’s too late. I cannot turn back the wheel of time.”

This article is about the three-letter-word “you”. Because you is not you.

In Wikipedia we read that, “In English grammar and in particular in casual English, generic you, impersonal you or indefinite you is the pronoun you in its use in referring to an unspecified person, as opposed to its use as the second person pronoun.”

Examples “generic you”:

  • “Then you grow up and you discover new kinds of people.”
  • “You realize that life is not easy.”
  • “When they invite you to a party, what can you do?”

Examples “second person pronoun”:

  • “Ask not what your country can do for you; ask what you can do for your country.”
  • “You can do it! Stand up, go out there and take that first step to change your life!”
  • “Do you love your family? Then, we’re in the same boat.”
When you talk about the you-I-ratio in public speaking, make sure you talk about the second person pronoun “you” and not the generic “you”. Because you is not you. The second person pronoun “you” is powerful, indeed. But the personal “I” will beat the generic “you” always, anytime, any day!

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