You-Viewpoint

Breaking Down the You-Viewpoint

The You-Viewpoint is a powerful concept in business communication as well as in any format of interpersonal communication.

The You-Viewpoint (also called You Attitude) calls for senders to give primary consideration to receiver’s point of view when composing or planning a message by analyzing their values, biases, viewpoints, potential emotional reaction to the message; adapting the message accordingly and determining the line of approach.

To apply the techniques of you attitude, a writer or speaker must project empathy into business communicationsOpens in new window. Empathy means imagining yourself in the receiver’s position. And you do this by analyzing your receiver—the person whom you are sending your message.

Analyzing the Receiver

People are different based on their educational background, culture, experience, to name but a few. There can be no two receivers alike.

You must learn as much as possible about how a particular receiver or group of receivers thinks and feels, in general and with respect to the situation about which the communication is based.

Specifically, you must analyze the receiver(s) in four concrete areas: knowledge, interests, attitudes, and emotional reaction.

1.1  Knowledge

An ideal way to start the analysis is with a review of each receiver’s education and experience. Some of the questions you might need to ask include:

  • What is my receiver’s highest level of education?
  • Does my receiver have education specifically related to the topic of my message?
  • How much work experience does my receiver have?
  • How much of my receiver’s work experience relates to the specific topic of my message?
  • Does the receiver have prior experience interacting with me or my organization?

Answers to these questions will help you decide the vocabulary level of your message, the extent to which you will be able to include technical terms, and the amount of detail the receiver will require.

1.2  Interests

The second step is to analyze the receiver’s interests. As the sender of the message you might consider asking the following questions:

  • What are the receiver’s concerns or needs?
  • Does the receiver have a particular motive or seeks a particular outcome?
Important Hint! 

Watch out for the receiver’s position and level of authority!

These factors may influence the nature of the receiver’s interest in a communicative event. For example, an employee responsible for production will have a greater interest in the technical details of machine repair than will the manager to whom he or she reports. The manager’s primary interests may be the timing and cost of the solution. A careful analysis of your receiver’s interest will help you determine what content to include in your message, as well as the approach you take in organizing it.

1.3  Attitudes

The third step is to examine the attitudes of the receiver. In examining the receiver’s attitudes, you might need to ask the following questions:

  • What values, beliefs, biases, and viewpoints does the receiver have?
  • What words or symbols will make a positive and negative impressions on the receiver?
  • What ideas can be used effectively to communicate with this receiver?

Among the many attributes that can affect receiver attitudes are status, power, personality, expectations, nationality, and culture.

1.4  Emotional Reaction

The final step is to anticipate the receiver’s emotional reaction to your message. To do so, you might want to ask the following questions:

  • Will the message make the receiver happy?
  • Make the receiver angry?
  • Leave the receiver unaffected?

As shown in the Important Hints feature, below, on predicting emotional reactions, your assessment will assist you in determining whether you should use a direct or an indirect approach.

Important Hint! 

Predicting Emotional Reactions

  • In most cultures, people will accept pleasant or neutral messages when you give the main point in your opening paragraph (direct approach).
  • A message that could disappoint or anger a receiver might gain greater acceptance if the sender offers an explanation, a reason, or other supporting information before giving the main point (indirect approach).
  • If your supervisor, a customer, or other person with whom you communicate indicates that he or she prefers to have the main idea of the message presented before the details, be sure to do so.

Analyzing your receiver will assist you in every communication situation. It will enable you to make effective use of one of the most important concepts of business communication – the you-viewpoint.

Learn how to take advantage of the you-viewpoint to influence the ideas you include in your message hereOpens in new window.

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