Evaluating You-Attitude in Documents that Cross your Desk

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:

  1. The original sentence(s).
  2. A brief description of why the material does not adhere to you-attitude.
  3. 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.

Additional guidance:

  • Review Module 6, pp. 91-94
  • Memo format, pp. 137-139
    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.)

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. This isn’t writing. It’s typing.
  4. My mother always told me to find at least one good thing to say about someone. Well, I like the font you used.
  5. 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.
  6. I would have to fix about half the spelling and grammar mistakes in this memo just to classify it as awful.
  7. 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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Evaluating You-Attitude in Documents that Cross your Desk

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