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This marks the second segment of the You-Viewpoint study, which was introduced on the preceding page. If you're arriving here for the first time or haven't followed from the beginning, you can initiate the study from the outset by clicking on this [LinkOpens in new window].

Practical Guides to Use the You-Viewpoint

The You-Viewpoint empowers you, the sender of the message, with a deeper understanding of the receiver's knowledge, influencing the ideas you incorporate and the level of explanation you provide. This approach ensures that you use language the receiver can comprehend and accept.

In situations where your message targets a group of receivers, and you aim to achieve specific business communication goals with each member, a comprehensive analysis of each individual within the group becomes imperative. When the receivers hold equal importance to your objectives, compose the message considering the member(s) with the least knowledge, interest, and the greatest emotional opposition to the subject.

For instance, while web pages have the potential to reach millions globally, content developers focus on defining, analyzing, and writing for their specific target audience rather than addressing all Internet users. By constructing your message to address the receiver's concerns, needs, and motivations, you can tailor your communication effectively.

Understanding your receiver's attitudes is crucial for steering clear of or delicately handling negative situations. Additionally, anticipating your receiver's emotional reaction influences whether you should opt for a direct or indirect approach in your message.

The I-Viewpoint

Contrary to the You-Viewpoint is the I-ViewpointOpens in new window, which encompasses the me-, my-, our-, and we-viewpoints. The I-Viewpoint, also known as I-Attitude, involves composing messages from the sender's perspective rather than the receiver's, a practice often employed by poor communicators.

Messages from the I-Viewpoint are based on the sender's knowledge, interests, attitudes, and emotional reactions, rarely aligning with the goals of business communication.

Contrasting examples of sentences from both viewpoints illustrate the shift from a self-centered I-Viewpoint to a receiver-centered You-Viewpoint. Survey the following:

  • I think your report is excellent.
  • You simply do not understand what I am saying.
  • We offer three service plans.
  • You wrote an excellent report.
  • Perhaps an example will help make the instructions clearer.
  • Choose the service plan that best meets your needs.

As you might observe from these examples, using the You-Viewpoint is not merely about changing personal pronouns; it requires a shift from self-centeredness to being receiver-centered. This means emphasizing the receiver's interests and benefits over one's own. In written communicationOpens in new window, this involves applying the same consideration as one would in a direct conversation.

While body languageOpens in new window aids communication in spoken interactions, written communication relies solely on words. It is crucial to ensure that the reader comprehends the intended meaning precisely, as many business decisions hinge on written communication. Avoiding colloquialisms, jargonOpens in new window, and potentially offensive words or phrases is vital. Replace I or we with you or your to establish a friendly intent as a writer and emphasize the benefits to the reader. Consider the following examples:

  1. I/We Attitdue
    • We will prepare complimentary snacks for the office party.
    You/Your Attitude
    • You will receive complimentary snacks at the office party.
  2. I/We Attitude
    • We will provide free event shirts for volunteers to wear at the race.
    You/Your Attidue
    • All volunteers may wear free event shirts at the race.
  3. Even requests for action and unfavorable responses can create goodwill when the emphasis is on the receiver's benefits.

    The following examples demonstrate how shifting from an I/We Attitude to a You/Your Attitude transforms the tone and impact of the message, fostering a positive response from the receiver.

  4. I/We Attitude
    • We may not be able to offer you credit if your account is not paid in full by June 25.
    You/Your Attitude
    • To continue purchasing on credit, please pay the balance by June 25.
  5. I/We Attitude
    • We require a $300 minimum balance in order for customers to receive free checks.
    You/Your Attitude
    • When you maintain a $300 minimum balance, you receive free checks.
  6. I/We Attitude
    • After September 15, I will drop all students who have not signed and returned their Acceptable Use Form.
    You/Your Attitude
    • Please protect your enrollment. Sign and return your Acceptable Use Form by September 15.

When utilizing the You-Viewpoint, positive responses are more likely, even if it means writing more passively at times. Embracing the You-Viewpoint does not imply ignoring basic values or compromising ethics. Manipulating someone with insincere compliments to achieve a goal is inappropriate. Sincerity and honesty remain fundamental to successful business communication.

As you consider integrating the You-Viewpoint into your messages, it's important to maintain authenticity and ethical communication practices. The effectiveness of this approach is evident in the positive responses it elicits from both the receiver and the content of your message.

So, what does a message in the you-viewpoint look like? Let's take a look at an example together.

Interoffice Memo Written from Receiver’s Viewpoint.

To:  Members of the Bell Company Community
FROM:  Abbott Winthrop, HR Specialist AW
DATE:  August 23, 200-
SUBJECT:  Vacation Fund

What would you do if you had to travel 1,000 miles to spend time with a critically ill family member but had no sick leave or vacation time from which to draw?

As a Bell employee, you would probably request additional paid time from the Vacation Fund. Because the need for time off has been great over these past few months, however, the fund has been exhausted. Without additional time donations, current and future needs will go unmet.

Please consider donating some of your unused vacation time to this important fund. A week, a day, or even a few hours can make a dramatic difference for a worker in need. Forms can be obtained from LeAnn Luther (lluther, x7008) or online ( LeAnn is also available to answer questions you have about the program.

Thank you for your past and future donations to the fund.

Adapted for use here, courtesy of the Module, Business Communication, By A.C. Krizan, Patricia Merrier, Joyce P. Logan, Karen Schneiter Williams

The objective of the message in the above example is to convince readers. Take note of how the message actively involves the receiver in the opening paragraph and maintains an employee-centered approach throughout the subsequent paragraphs.

Contrast this writing style with one that adopts a "We need your help" approach. Consider which approach would inspire you to contribute.

By embracing the You-Viewpoint, you gain the ability to tailor your message to address the receiver's concerns, needs, and motivations.

Analyzing your receiver's attitudes is instrumental in steering clear of or delicately handling negative situations. Ultimately, anticipating your receiver's emotional reaction will guide your choice between a direct or indirect approach in your message. This discussion on the "You-Viewpoint" has been a continuous exploration initiated on Page OneOpens in new window.

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