A virus that has spread through radio stations and personality shows all over the world. It starts slowly. Gradually, day by day, it spreads. Over time, bad things happen. Time spent listening goes down. Research indicates fewer “favorites” and Top of Mind Awareness is lower. It’s called IMEWEUS and it’s a real thing.
IMEWEUS is a condition of self-absorbed chatter from overusing personal pronouns, especially “I,” “Me,” “We” and “Us.”
The most common symptom is making qualified statements rather than powerful statements. For example, here’s are qualified statements:
I think the team may need a new quarterback.
It seems to me that restaurants should have a special section for families with kids under age 4 so they don’t ruin dinner for everyone else.
They’re both weak because the pronoun makes it an opinion. A qualified statement is not nearly as strong as saying,
We’re not going to the playoffs with this quarterback.
All restaurants should be forced to have a special section for families with young kids.
Another symptom is constructing a phrase from your perspective rather than the listener’s, such as:
We’ve got your tickets for Justin Bieber if you’re caller #4.
We want to send you to Hawaii on the trip of a lifetime.
Listeners don’t want to experience of radio station generosity any more than you buy a car to experience the dealer’s offer. Replace “We have” language with “Where you get” language. Like this:
Win Justin Bieber tickets now.
Pack your bags and get ready to head to Hawaii.
Removing pronouns is much more effective.
The good news is there is a cure for IMEWEUS.
It starts with awareness. Study airchecks and listen for problem areas. Make detailed notes. Then, develop new habits with these three steps:
- Set a goal to avoid saying the words: “I, Me, We or Us.” in one break per show. Master it, then target one break each hour. Then once every 30 minutes. Finally, try it for a full show without using personal pronouns.
- Air Check at least twice a week. Listen to a full hour and identify IMEWEUS. Rephrase the break to be more relatable. This helps learn new muscle memory.
- Transcribe a break once a week. Print the text. Then rewrite it to edit I, Me, We, and Us. Get details on how and why to transcribe a break here. There’s also a downloadable template that comes in handy.
Bonus Tip: Practice in everyday life, too. It’ll make a big difference on social media and in personal relationships. You’ll be more likable, relatable, fun to be around and more colorful.
IMEWEUS is a problem. Now there’s nothing wrong with saying the words I, Me, We And Us. The problem is when the focal point becomes internal rather than external.
Do you have IMEWEUS? Probably, at least to some extent. My Audience Magnet online course for radio personalities dedicates a full lesson to IMEWEUS, including exercises and homework to help.