The Power of First-Person Pronouns

First-person pronouns cause investors (and perhaps all humans) to react more positively to information. In a study highlighted by the WSJ, 250 participants listened to fictional earnings calls and then were asked to make investment decisions based on the information relayed on the calls. The study also evaluated 500,000 real-life earnings calls for similar first-pronoun language and then compared the market reaction. “…the study found that investors leave with a more positive impression—regardless of a company’s results—when managers use personal pronouns such as ‘I,’ ‘we,’ ‘my,’ ‘ours’ and ‘us,’ or what the researchers refer to as self-inclusive language.”

The authors of the study believe that investors react this way because the language suggests the speaker has greater control. Another professor of psychology interviewed for the article argued that it was likely because the language “creates an air of vulnerability, which listeners tend to find authentic and accessible.”

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Source: Matthew Kassel | "CEOs’ Simple Trick on Earnings Calls: Saying ‘I,’ ‘We’ and ‘Us’" | The Wall Street Journal | 08/06/2017 | Visit