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There’s No I in Storytelling (er… no capital I, at least) 

Focus your content on uplifting and celebrating others.Not yourself. 

A few weeks ago, a certain “Crying CEO” got a lot ofattention for a LinkedIn post he made expressing sadness for having to lay off a few people. The majority of the reaction seemed to be negative, as his post just didn’t seem to be genuine. 

I’m not here to dunk on the Tearful Executive, and I won’tpretend to know what was in his heart when he wrote the post, snapped the picture, and hit Submit. Too often, we assume the worst in people, so in this case, I choose not to do that. 

But that doesn’t mean we can’t all take some lessons fromthe Case of the Sad Selfie. No matter how pure his motivations, the Crying CEO’s post didn’t land. The reason for that, in my opinion, is that he made his post about himself, instead of his employees. 

He used the word, “I” 19 times in his 312-word post. Morethan six percent of his words are referring to himself. Yeah, that’s right. I counted. Because I use my time well. 

For a post that’s supposed to be about his employees that hehad to let go, that’s way too many. 

But he’s far from the only one who has this problem.  

It’s Not About You! 

When creating content for an audience one is trying toimpress, there is a great temptation to focus too much on one’s self and one’s own actions. This is true of individuals, and it’s especially true of companies and organizations. 

It’s easy to understand why. When you want your potentialcustomers, supporters, donors, etc., to become actual customers, supporters, donors, etc., you feel like you need to tell them how great you are. 

To a certain extent, you should toot your own horn. Afterall, no one else will. 

For the most part, your content and your stories should beabout others. Share stories about the people who make you – as an individual or an organization – successful. Use stories about others to demonstrate your knowledge and accomplishments. 


Because that’s what people respond to. People are wary ofbeing sold to, and when they see a piece of content that says “I did this” and “I did that,” their BS detectors start to light up. 

And they tune out your content. Or worse, ridicule it,damaging your reputation. 

Tooting Your Own Horn 

As I said above, there will come a time that you will needto toot your own horn. And that’s fine. 

But it’s always better if someone else toots your horn foryou. And the best way to make that happen is to continually tell other people’s stories. To celebrate and elevate them. That’s the kind of attention you just
can’t buy. 

So, next time you’re feeling like the Crying CEO and want toshare a vulnerable post, write it, set it aside and come back to read it. If you see the word “I” too many times, start over. It’s not about you.