The Power of I.

This past week I was facilitating a customer service class and we were practicing The Power of I. In other words, learning about the benefits of using I language versus YOU language. It’s a communication tip that holds a lot of power and here are a few reasons why.

  1. It is a trait of a competent interpersonal communicator because you own what you think, feel, believe, need, or want. (Bochner and Kelly)
  2. In moments of conflict or difficult interactions, it prevents fueling the fire … it keeps things cool.
  3. It makes you responsible for your communication, instead of pushing it onto others which can feel a lot like blame.

But it can be hard to do as many of those in my customer service class found out.  Why is that? Read on or click here.

For many people, it is far from being a communication habit.  Take for example telling someone,

“You make me angry!”

Are they responsible for your anger or is that something you control?  Instead, say “I am angry because …” and give the reason for the anger (hint: it isn’t the person himself or herself, it is the behavior or words they used.)

Another example,

 “What you said doesn’t make sense.”

Perhaps they make perfect sense to someone else and what we really should be communicating is “I don’t understand.”

So, yes.  Using I language versus YOU language is difficult. That’s cool though. You can practice with this week’s challenge because it is better to be a work-in-progress than to not be progressing at all. Right?

This weeks challenge, Know the Power of I, is in two parts:

Part 1. Choose 15 minutes on three different days and track how many times you say YOU.

Part 2. Reduce the number of times the word YOU is used by replacing it with I.  Reduce by how much?  That’s up to YOU!

*Note: Using YOU sometimes makes sense, such as the last sentence above. So, use your I’s wisely. 😉