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Important Pronoun Use

Important Pronoun Use

Pronouns have been a heavily debated topic in recent years, and for the record, we believe everyone should be able to use whatever pronoun they want, and if someone makes you aware of their preference and you ignore it, that doesn’t make them sensitive, it makes you a jerk. We believe you should add your pronouns to your LI profile to demonstrate your acceptance of all people.

But I digress, and though this content is about pronouns, it isn’t about pronouns people self-select, it’s about being purposeful about your pronouns use in selling. I had never considered pronoun use for persuasion, beyond the typical recommendation in conflict of using I statements (I feel, I think, no blame to the other person.) Then a study was released from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, which had some interesting findings.

The researchers compiled data sourced from the highlighted passages of Amazon Kindle users. It makes sense for the things to be highlighted to equal a passage or sentence which resonated with the user.

Here’s where it gets crazy:

Passages which included a generic “you” (speaking directly to the reader) were TWELVE times more likely to be highlighted. Then they compared the use of “I” with a generic “you.” They compared “we” with “you.” They compared “people” and “one” with “you.” In each case, the generic “you” resonated much more strongly.

Pay attention to this as you’re writing content for emails, cadences, blogs, proposals, and anything else where you need to be persuasive. Read through the content and determine if there are places you can start incorporating the generic you into the text to increase the likelihood for conversion.

We’re going to start paying attention to this internally and help everyone to make this minor modification.

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Tricia Tamkin, headhunter, advisor, coach, and gladiator. Tricia has spoken at over 50 recruiting events, been quoted in multiple national publications, and her name is often dropped in groups as the solution to any recruiters’ challenges. She brings over 30 years of deep recruiting experience and offers counsel in a way which is perspective changing and entertaining.

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