Evaluating You-Attitude in Documents that Cross your Desk
Evaluating You-Attitude in Documents that Cross your Desk (LO 6-1 to LO 6-5)
Identify three sentences that do not use “you-attitude” in documents you see as a worker, consumer, or student. This material can come from business journals, magazines, professional websites, letters you’ve received from a business or non-profit organization, etc.
Write a memo to your instructor discussing your examples. Within the memo, include the following information:
- The original sentence(s).
- A brief description of why the material does not adhere to you-attitude.
- A revised version of the sentence(s) that incorporates principles of you-attitude.
Note: while our primary focus for this exercise is you-attitude, remember to consider some of the other concepts we’ve explored as well, such as audience awareness, reader benefits, and positive messaging.
- Review Module 6, pp. 91-94
- Memo format, pp. 137-139
PAGES OF THE BOOK WILL BE PROVIDED IN FILE
See, too, the sample letter on p. 95 as an example that lacks you-attitude.
Here are some examples of sentences that have been revised:
Sentence: I have worked hard to get you the best contract possible. Or: You’ll be happy to learn that we’re ready to offer you the best contract possible.
Problems: Writer, not reader, oriented writing: the writer is concerned about himself, how hard he worked or how happy he is, rather than what the reader receives (benefits)
Revisions: Under the new contract you’ll receive dental insurance.
Sentence: You need to send us your overdue balance of $550, or we’ll probably take you to court.
Problems: Selfish and divisive pronouns us/we and you creates a personal conflict between the writer and reader.
Revision: Please pay the overdue balance of $550 to avoid possible legal actions. If you need help making this payment, please contact our credit department for assistance at 999-999-9999.
Sentence: I have requested that your order is sent out today.
Problems: Where are the reader benefits to this message? What should the reader expect?
Revision: You will receive your order by Wednesday.
Below are some examples of criticism that certainly lack you-attitude. As practice, consider ways that you might adjust these examples based on the principles we’ve explored. (It is not necessary to include these in the memo to your instructor.)
- Reading your report reminds me of when I was a kid and my older brother used to spin me around and around and around. I have that same disoriented feeling and sickness in my stomach right now.
- I will say that after looking over your job application, I had a religious awakening. The fact that anyone ever hired you before makes me believe in miracles.
- This isn’t writing. It’s typing.
- My mother always told me to find at least one good thing to say about someone. Well, I like the font you used.
- It’s a testament to courage and indomitable spirit that a writer with your obvious challenges with the English language has managed to make it this far. Bravo, Shakespeare.
- I would have to fix about half the spelling and grammar mistakes in this memo just to classify it as awful.
- Your writing is a case study on the failure of the modern education system. I’m surprised you got the staple in the right place.
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