Fostering Goodwill • You-Attitude (You View) • Positive Emphasis • Reader Benefits
You Attitude (You View) • A style of writing which looks at things from the reader’s point of view. • Emphasizes what the reader wants to know. • Respects the reader’s intelligence. • Protects the reader’s ego. • Gives the reader what they need.
You Attitude = AUDIENCE Go back to PAGOS Audience • Who is primary audience? Additional Audiences? • What is their background? (demographic, experiential) • What do they know/need to know? • What are the benefits to them? Objections? (how are they likely to respond) • What is the context in which they might read the document?
Focus on Reader – not yourself 1. Focus on what the reader receives or can do, not on what you’ve done. Not YA: We have invested a lot of money to build the biggest inventory in town. YA: You can choose from the largest selection of gifts in town, thanks to Robinson’s large inventory.
Can’t do Can do!! Not YA:Non-standard merchandise may not be purchased without the prior approval of the Plant Manager. YA: To purchase non-standard merchandise, you must first get the Plant Manager’s approval.
Refer to Reader Request or Order 2. Emphasize what the reader wants to know. Not YA: We shipped your order today. YA: You should receive your order early next week.
Don’t Talk about your Feelings Not YA: We are happy to give you a credit line of $2000. YA: You now have a credit line of $2000 with American Express. Not YA: You will be happy to learn that your vacation request has been approved. YA: Your vacation request has been approved. or Yes, you may take October 15-22 as vacation days.
Exception – Talk about your feelings Exception: You may talk about feelings in a condolence or congratulatory message. YA: I am sorry to hear that your father died. YA: I’m delighted that you’ll be our new sales manager.
Avoid “You” in Negative Situations 1. Avoid “you” when it criticizes the reader. Instead, use an impersonal expression or a passive verb to avoid assigning blame. Not YA: You failed to sign your check. YA: Your check arrived without a signature. YA: Your check was not signed. passive voice?
Avoid “You” in Negative Situations 2. Avoid “you” when it limits the reader’s freedom. Instead, talk about the group to which the reader belongs. Not YA: You must get approval from the instructor before you turn in your proposal. YA: Students must get the instructor’s approval before turning in their proposals.
2. Create Positive Emphasis 1. Eliminate negative words and words with negative connotations. 2. Focus on what the reader can do rather than on limitations. • Justify negative information by giving a reason or a reader benefit. 4. If the negative is truly unimportant, omit it. 5. Bury the negative information and present it compactly.
afraid anxious delay delinquent dissatisfied error fail loss misfortune missing not problem reject weakness Eliminate Negative Words
3. Reader Benefits • Benefits and advantages the reader gets from • using your services • buying your products • following your policies • adopting your ideas • Demonstrate your concern for quality and meeting customers’ needs
Good Reader Benefits are • Adapted to the audience • Saving money vs. saving time • Developed using logic and details • Accurate • Detailed • Phrased in You-Attitude • Benefits are often “frontloaded”
Passive Construction to deemphasize responsibility Passive Construction = No actor in the sentence or the actor isn’t performing the action. Sentence: You did not fill out the job application completely. Passive Verb Revision: The application was not filled out completely. (by who?)
Passive Construction to deemphasize responsibility Cindy failed to turn in her project on time. The project was not turned in on time. (by who?) You failed to follow guidelines. The guidelines were not followed. (by who?)
Impersonal Construction to deemphasize responsibility Impersonal Construction = The object performs the action. Sentence:You did not fill out the job application completely. Impersonal Construction Revision: The application is incomplete.
Sentence: Cindy failed to turn in her project on time. Passive Verb Revision: The project was not turned in on time. (by who?) Impersonal Construction Revision: The project is late.
Sentence: You did not fill out the job application completely. Passive Verb Revision: The application was not filled out completely. (by who?) Impersonal Construction Revision: The application is incomplete.
Sentence: You will receive a $100 fine. Passive Verb Revision: A $100 fine will be received. Impersonal Construction Revision: A $100 fine is assessed.
Sentence: You did not include your PAGOS plans. Passive Verb Revision: The PAGOS plans were not included. Impersonal Construction Revision: The PAGOS plans are missing.
Sentence: The file you gave me won’t open. Passive Verb Revision: The file submitted will not open. Impersonal Construction Revision: The file is corrupted.