I pay close attention to the language that people use. I always have. I notice local nuances in word choice, phrasing and pronunciation. And I can tell the difference between the cursing of an educated and uneducated human.
I also quickly recognize when new words and phrases gain popularity.
A few years ago I noticed the increased popularity of the phrases, If I’m being honest…, and To tell you the truth… There is a time and place to use those phrases. But they shouldn’t be sprinkled before everything you say or you sound like your default setting is Big Fat Liar.
The latest phrase to ping my ears is One of those. Here are a few uses:
He’s one of those guys who….
She’s one of those bosses who….
They are one of those friends who…
I dislike the use of this phrase for 2 reasons.
- It is unnecessary. Whatever you say after this introduction could simply stand on its own. She’s one of those bosses who people love to work for could simply be: People love working for her. And, He’s one of those guys who never seems to have a bad day could simply be: He never seems to have a bad day. Or He’s always in a good mood. Or, I think he’s on drugs.
2. I don’t like to think of people as being common types. Humans are complicated, nuanced and unique. We are oversimplifying when we lump people into one of those categories. And I hate to be lumped.
As a champion of marketing, advertising and branding I am constantly looking for the unique, unoccupied spaces for brands to live. It’s important to own distinct real estate in customers’ minds. It is how brands become irreplaceable.
The same holds true when it comes to your personal brand. You don’t want to be one of those types. It decreases your value. It makes it sound as if there are a large number of you. As soon as you are one of those types, you are interchangeable with all the others. Like a commodity. Don’t be that kid.
Don’t allow yourself to simply be one of those. Lean into your uniqueness. Develop your own intriguing combination of strengths and style. Become uncategorizable. Be unlabelable. Own a unique place in the minds of those you interact with. It is the best way to maximize your value and memorability. It’s true of brands, products and services. And it’s true for humans too.
*If you know someone who could benefit from this message, please share it with them.
+ For more thinking like this check out my new book What Does Your Fortune Cookie Say? from Ripples Media.