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” Now what is YOU-ATTITUDE? The you-attitude is a style of writing.
In professional writing, the “you attitude” means looking at a topic from the reader’s point of view (“you”) instead of our own (“me”). The key to successful communications is to make the reader feel in every memo, in every letter, in every email, in every phone call, in all contact that the most important person in our business relationship is YOU, the READER, not me/I, the writer.
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The positive and Negative you-attitude: Positive emphasis is a style writing which focuses on what CAN be done and not on what can’t be done. When we emphasize the positive, we convince the reader we know what we’re doing and are goal-oriented.
When we emphasize the negative, we sound unsure and indecisive. 1. Focus on the what CAN be done. Here are some negative emphasis sentences from students’ course goal memos. Notice how the negativity makes the students sound lost or confused.
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Not: I will try to do my best. But: I will do my best. Here are more examples of what can’t be done (negative emphasis) vs. what CAN be done (positive, you attitude! ) Not: It will be impossible to open an account for you until you send us your signature card. But: Your account will be open as soon as you send us your signature card. 2.
When a negative is necessary, use the least negative, most tactful term. Not: Because you failed to pay your bill, your account is delinquent. But: Your account is past due. (this says the same thing but is less accusatory) 3. Focus on options that remain. When giving negative information, always give an alternative if possible. Not: You cannot get a loan because you owe so much on your credit cards. But: You can get a loan if someone co-signs the loan with you. (this is positive and focuses on how the reader can accomplish his/her goals) How to create you-attitude in your sentences? 1: Talk about reader not about yourself.
Emphasizing reader benefit can help convince our readers to do whatever it is we’re asking them to do. Reader benefit tells our readers how they will be positively affected (financially, emotionally, psychologically, physically, spiritually) by doing business with us. The sentences below illustrate how we might focus away from us and on reader benefit. One big way you can get your letters and memos off to a You-Attitude start is by avoiding “I” as the first word. When you begin your correspondence with “I,” from the very first word you are telling your readers who the most important persons in the correspondence are, and it isn’t them.
Not: Dear Mr . Jones, I am happy to inform you that we have approved your loan. But: Dear Mr . Jones, Congratulations! Your loan is approved. 2: Refer to the Reader’s request or order: Explain the order or request details. If your reader is an individual or a small business its friendly to specify the contents of the order. If you are writing to a company with which you do a great deal of business, give the invoice or purchase order number. Lacks You-attitude: this is your order. You attitude (individual): this the desk and the chair that you ordered.
You-attitude ( company): your invoice #786876 3: Don’t talk about feelings: In most business situations, your feelings are irrelevant and should be omitted. The reader doesn’t care weather you’re happy,bored stiff at granting a routine application. All the readers cares about is the situation from his or her point of view. So, Don’t talk about feelings except for condolence or congratulatory messages. Not: We are happy to give you a credit line of $2000. (this focuses on us) But: You now have a credit line of $2000 with American Express. (this focuses on our reader).
Condolence: I was sorry to hear of the passing of your father. Congratulatory: I’m delighted that you’ll be our new sales manager. Use ‘’YOU” more often than “I” We all need to feel that people notice and appreciate our good efforts. When you receive especially good service, let the person know that you appreciate him/her. And let the person’s supervisor know, too. Establish a good, respectful relationship with your readers by addressing them directly, writing in the active voice and using the second person (you, your, and yours), not just the first (I, me, mine, we, us, and ours).
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When we use “I” it suggest that you’re concerned about personal issues not about organization problems, needs and opportunities. You can use “WE” in that case when you want to include the reader. But when it seems that by using “We” the reader will be excluded than avoid to use “We”. Lack you-attitude: We provide extra benefits to all employs. You-attitude: You receive extra benefits as full time manager. When “YOU” must be avoided: 1. Avoid “you” when it criticizes the reader. Instead, use an impersonal expression or a passive verb to avoid assigning blame.
Don’t focus on the problem; focus on solving the problem. Not: You failed to sign your check. But: Your check arrived without a signature. AND Your check was not signed. AND Please stop by today to sign your check. 2. Avoid “you” when it limits the reader’s freedom. Instead, talk about the group to which the reader belongs. Not: You must get approval from the Director. (this sounds like we’re picking on the reader ) But: All personnel must get approval from the Director. (this assures the reader that everyone — not just reader — must follow company policy)
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