Storytelling Straight Talk: Humility Kills Conviction

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Leaders write and speak with conviction. Bold writing is not arrogant. Readers and audiences know that your words are a direct extension of your thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and experiences. Don’t talk about yourself at the expense of offering value to those receiving your message:

I believe that we all want to communicate with authority and conviction. In my experience, writers and speakers who state their messages boldly connect to readers and listeners with greater power. Though I think it’s natural to want to avoid being perceived as arrogant, stating your thesis as fact will present you as a thought leader and a visionary.

A third of the example text above is dedicated to the author’s attempts to be humble. “Humility phrases” make the subject of the sentence “I.”

I believe …

In my experience…

I think…

I feel…

I see…

It occurs to me…

While attempting to discourage the perception that you consider yourself to be an omniscient authority, you divert attention from the message to your personal conflicts about self-image. Strip out the self-referential qualifiers and you’re left with a stronger message:

Communicate with authority and conviction. Writers and speakers who state their messages boldly connect to readers and listeners with greater power. Stating your thesis as fact will present you as a thought leader and a visionary.

Want to get a message across? Be bold. Stop talking about yourself. As my friend Bruce Turkel says, make it “All About Them.” Don’t ask your reader or listener to care about your thoughts, feelings, and experiences until you’ve made a direct contribution to theirs.

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Dave Bricker: StorySailing®