By: Susan Elmore
There was a great piece on Houston Public Media some time ago that still resonates with me. It was about word choices being a strong predictor for dating success. Who knew the secret is in the pronouns! The piece touched on something that I noticed years ago and practice daily. When writing an email the first draft is what I want to say: “I’m writing to request a meeting…”, “I’m writing to thank you…” Sometimes there are four or five uses of the word “I”. Next, I edit the email to remove as much “me-ness” as possible. Yes, I am writing to ask for something, but instead of stating my needs, I try to flip it and start with a reason that benefits my reader.
Here‘s an example:
Draft 1 – I’m writing you because I’m planning an annual meeting for my client and I feel from reviewing your website that you might be a good keynote speaker. Can you send me more information and advise of your availability on XYZ date?
Draft 2 has been flipped – Each year I have the honor of planning the Central Houston Annual Meeting. With an audience of more than 900 business leaders in the room, the goal is to find a keynote speaker who can address a topic that is current, relevant and of importance to our City. The work that your organization is doing in the area of… (details here) touches on a key area of interest in our community. May we schedule a time to speak this week to see if you are interested in being considered as the keynote at this year’s event?
When you listen to the NPR piece you will notice that MOST of it is about data and speed dating, but hang in there and listen closely! You will see the connection.