How High Status People Talk and Influence Others

I stumbled across a Twitter Space where Elon Musk was talking with a few other people live and you could listen in. I stayed on for several minutes, only to notice a lot and then leave in a bit of disgust. This other person, Vivek Ramaswamy, on the call seemed to be hogging the discussion.

I looked him up and he was some former political commentator and magazine founder for Woke, Inc. (never heard of it or him) who is running for US president in 2024. Now, what I noticed was how many pronouns and used and what types of pronouns they were. “I … am running for president.”, “I don’t know, but I think.”, “My mission is…”, “I think the problem with this generation is…”, “I think the solution is…”, “I am calling in from Iowa”, and so on. When you contrast that with Elon’s responses, there was just a lot less of this pronoun. High-status people, as research shows, don’t use selfish pronouns as much because they’re often talking about ways in which they help others, which is likely what got them to where they are and what their job entails. Elon used phrases like “Humanity should …”, “Humanity is good”, “We should be proud to be Americans”, and so on.

There’s even a whole book about this called The Secret Life of Pronouns.  (affiliate link)

Me, me, me. This selfish mentality is natural to most individuals. However, most people don’t care about you. They care about what you can do for them. That simple concept is something most people don’t grasp or use until much later in life, and that’s how you actually begin to influence others.

I have a feeling Vivek is completely unaware he is doing this and going to lose the election off this and a couple other influential (or lack thereof) mannerisms he’s having. Based on his tone and how he was speaking, it felt like he was more excited to speak to Elon than the other way around. He was also trying to subtly and not so subtly enforce who he is and what makes him so cool. Who knows if this is to get Elon’s approval or the listeners approval or something else. Who knows if he’s even consciously aware of this.

I won’t touch too much about the content of the topics because it’s not as relevant for my point. They were touching loosely about random topics about how the millennial generation feels. One thing I noted was Vivek made a proclamation that he feels like he represents the whole generation in a way being the first to run for president and he feels like they lack a purpose and yearn for meaning and purpose. He felt his mission was to help build some of that purpose but he admitted it was above his pay-grade a bit and perhaps religion is the answer for some. The discussions waned from political to philosophical to all over the place based on opinions that may or may not be true about large groups. Elon mentioned he felt Americans should be proud to be American since he heard news of them taking Abe Lincoln off a school in San Fran and another story of how some people teared down a George Washington statue. Vivek responded by saying that this is usually due to people’s self-hate in themselves that they’re doing this.

That’s as far as I’ll mention the content. My only points on that are … when I did a fact check, the George Washington story seemed to come from somewhere in Oregon where they tore it down, not because they hated themselves or didn’t feel proud to be American. It had to do with the BLM movement and equal race rights and treatment related to George Floyd. I’m against forming all-encompassing opinions on whole groups, populations, or generations because we’re not all this monolithic thing that all think or believe the same things. There’s no way all the billions of millennials out there think the same. And all the millions of US millennials definitely don’t hate themselves or feel ashamed to be Americans. The whole point of making bold claims about the people you plan to serve (as president or something else) is you don’t want to be off the mark or else, it’s going to crumble around you.

Win Bigly (affiliate link) is an interesting book that breaks that the influence tactics that Trump used to win the presidential campaign. In the book, you’ll notice he was dialed in to what the American public and fueled their dreams. It all ties back to the fact that how you said something and what you say all make a huge difference to your influence on others. And unfortunately, Vivek is leaking all sorts of signs that things are off.

Now, I’m not seeing Vivek is completely hopeless or has no good traits. He enunciates and articulates his words clearly and with strong volume. I mean, there’s decent amount of stuff that he’s doing right to get to where he is. However, I wanted to focus on what I noticed as glaring issues that he could improve upon. It’s just interesting how much I realize people make their decisions not so much about the content but how you deliver the content. Some great books to explain this are Cues and Captivate, two books by Vanessa Van Edwards.

I Spend 20+ Hours A Week Studying Successful People
I share my insights every week in my free newsletter.
I agree to have my personal information transfered to ConvertKit ( more information )
We respect your privacy

By Will Chou

I am the the founder of this site and I am grateful you are here to be part of this awesome community. I help hard-working Asian American Millennials get rich doing work they love.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *