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“You” perspective in business correspondence

Why would you use the “you” perspective in business correspondence? Give an example of this perspective.

This post was part of TyroCity discussion forum
Question asked by binsa_thapa

Top comments (6)

angel profile image
Angel Paudel

Using you perceptive in business correspondence, makes the one reading feel important. It shifts the focus from the writer towards the reader as this form of writing looks at a topic from the point of view of the reader ("you”) instead of the writer ("I/ us”). In any form of business writing, focusing what the readers need or want to know will generate goodwill and lead to towards a positive result (Rodman, 2001).

An example of this can be rather than saying "I have shipped the computers you ordered today” to say, "You will receive your order of computers on Friday”. The first statement here is "I” centric as it states that the computers have been sent for shipping but doesn’t mention what the reader wants to know that is when the delivery will actually arrive, which is very well addressed by the second statement which is focused towards the reader.

Use of "you” perceptive in business correspondence will also help establish a good relationship with the readers while also showing that the writer empathizes with the reader. All those make the reader feel valued. These also act as a hidden persuader to tilt the readers liking or preference towards the product or service the writer’s company offers (Thill & Bovée, 2007).

Analyzing it further with the help of examples, they’re as listed below (please note the first sentence in each of the bullet points are for "I or Us” perceptive while the second sentence is for "You” perceptive):

  • We are sure that our discount policy with the reservation is appealing to you.
    • You will certainly appreciate new discount policy with the reservation.
  • I am sending information on computers hardware I sold you.
    • Please find the user guide on how to use the hardware for your computers.
  • We are excited and happy that you’ve selected our company for the business.
    • Thank you for providing us the opportunity to serve you.
  • I can give you 5% discount.
    • You can avail 5% discount.

As seen with the use of the examples above, the structuring of the sentences are a lot different when it becomes "you” centric. That also gives a call to action feeling to the customer and a positive language to influence them towards taking the step towards using or buying your service or product or making them feel valued at the least. Thus, "you” perceptive is very important in business correspondence.


Rodman, L. (2001). You-Attitude: A Linguistic Perspective. Business Communication Quarterly , 64 (4).

Thill, J., & Bovée, C. (2007). Excellence in business communication . Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall.

shantamilan profile image

There is an interesting phenomenon that I read once. It said that whenever a group photo is taken, we tend to look at our own face first. We as humans have an innate need to feel special, wanted and appreciated. Relating to this the use of the word "you” makes people feel focused on and special. "Communication’ has been considered as the fundamental social process because human beings interact with each other through communication in social set-up. (Bell & Smith, 2014)” Thus the use of "you” in a social set-up can be termed as a good form of communication as this generates closeness between the speaker and the one spoken to and builds a bridge of relationship.

Human resource management talks about the importance of workers, leadership talks about the importance of followers and marketing talks about the importance of customers. From this we can deduce the importance of catering communication towards being customer centric and as such even business correspondence with the use of the word "you” over "I & We” focuses and personalized the communication giving importance to them.

For example:

  1. In advertisements: We have created a product that helps ease every day chores of cleaning. This could be rephrased better with, Your need to stay clean, has been made easy with our new product.

  2. In an email correspondence: Please be present with your business pitch for the meeting at 3 pm. This can be rephrased as, Your presence is vital, to convince our investors in the meeting at 3pm.

  3. Business Meetings: Great team effort can be rephrased as your contribution to the team was very good.

Bell, A. L., & Smith, D. M. (2014). Communication. In A. L. Bell, & D. M. Smith, Management communication (pp. 260-270). Delhi: John Wiley & Sons. Inc.

ncitujjwal profile image

The " you view” analyzes and emphasizes the reader’s interests and perspectives. Because the reader’s interest or benefit is stressed, the writer is more likely to help the reader understand information or act on a request. Consider the following sentence that focuses on the needs of the writer and the organization (we) rather than on those of the reader.

We have not received your signed invoice, so we cannot process your payment.
In here, the sentence uses the word "your” twice, the first clause suggests that the point of view focuses on the writer’s need to receive the invoice to process the payment. The word "we” itself is not problematic, but the we view is. Consider the following revisions, written with the *you view *.

We understand the importance of processing your payment and will process it as soon as we receive your signed invoice.

So you can receive your payment promptly , please send your signed invoice.

In the first example focuses on the needs of the audience by associating the payment with "Importance.” The second revision emphasizes the benefits to the reader by including the second-person pronouns "you” early in the sentence.

You - attitude is a Reader - centered writing. Effective writers make the audience believe that the most important person in their correspondence - in their business relationship is “you”, the reader. In business situations, the reader and writer have something to gain or lose (Thill & Bovée, 2007). Focusing on reader benefits shows you’ve considered the situation from the reader’s point of view. Our reader feels less threatened and better response if they feel we as a writer understand their needs, feeling and emotion.

The You Attitude looks at things from the reader’s point of view are

  • Focus on what the reader receives or can do, not on what we’ve done. Don’t completely avoid “I” or “we,” just de-emphasize it.

  • Avoid starting your memos and letters with “I” or “We.”

In conclusion, 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, we/our, the writer (Paul & Aaron, 2016).

Paul, B., & Aaron, C. (2016). Writing to Improve Interdisciplinary Research and Practice. Journal of Business Communication 2004 41: 66 .

Thill, J., & Bovée, C. (2007). Excellence in business communication. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson Prentice Hall .

sachitabhattarai profile image

Business correspondence is a written form of communication used in the business to exchange information maintaining professional relationships between the organizations, clients, and employees. The different types of business correspondence are notices, circulars, memorandum, letters- marketing letters, discount/ offer letters, and emails.

The ‘you attitude’ writing style that emphasizes readers rather than the writer (The Business Communication, 2015). The “you” perspective makes the audience believe that the most important person in their correspondence is “you” the reader, co-worker or the customer. While writing a business letter or memos we should not focus on ‘I or we viewpoint’ but instead focus on ‘you viewpoint’ that emphasizes the interest of the readers and help to get the readers attention. No matter whom the audience is, the writer of a business letter will communicate more successfully if he or she paces the reader by seeing the situation from his or her angles and by using positive language to express most of the ideas at the same time (Zheng, 2015). In this way, the “you” perspective helps to keep the customers happy because it is word of mouth that helps to gain more customers in the market.

For example:

I or We perspective: We are happy to hear that you have selected our firm.

You perspective: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to serve you.

The adoption of the “you” perspective can facilitate the following benefits:

  • Creation of friendly environment between the reader and the sender
  • Motivate the reader
  • Accomplishment of the goal of the letter
  • Enhancing the goodwill of the firm
  • It protects the reader’s ego
  • It looks at things from the Readers point of view

Business Communication. (2015). The Business Communication. Retrieved from What is You Attitude in Business Communication: thebusinesscommunication.com/impor... 10

Zheng, S. (2015). A Study of Politeness Strategies in Persuasive English Business Letters from the Perspective of Londo’s AIDA Formula. Theory and Practice in Language Studies, Vol. 5, No.7 , 1467-1475.

ujjwalpoudel profile image

The ‘You’ writing perspective in business correspondence is very important. As human beings, we are mostly deemed as self-centred. So when writing in ‘I’ or ‘We’ perspective, we mostly signifies ourselves over the reader. Therefore, the ‘You’ perspective helps the reader to relate to the business correspondence and signify them instead of ourselves (Bell & Smith, 2006).

The "You” perspective focuses on some of the major things such as analysing the things from the reader’s point of view, empathizing and expressing the positive attitude to the sender. The habit of using the "You” perspective is really a successful mantra for the business organisation as it makes the reader feel special and valuable. The "you” attitude is best put in practice by expressing a message that keeps the interests and the needs of the audience at the centre. Of course, positive messages are better with words like "you” and "yours” instead of "I,” "me,” "mine,” "we,” etc. For effective communication, emphasizing and giving value of their contribution or involvement enhance job satisfaction and, encourage them more (Donavan, Brown & Mowen, 2004).

In a business organization, there are many stakeholders who are involved directly or indirectly. For effective communication, emphasizing and giving value of their contribution or involvement enhance job satisfaction and, encourage them more (Donavan, Brown & Mowen, 2004). "You” perspective in business correspondence gives the sense that writer cares well to the reader that helps to establishing strong relationship between the reader and the writer. It is one of the tools for persuasion as well. For instance; "We” have offer and provide you after sales service can be revised with "You” will get this offer and after sales services if you buy this product.

In sum, in order to show the "you” attitude in communication, one’s focus must be more on addressing the audience’s concerns in an acceptable and courteous manner.


Bell, A. H., & Smith, D. M. (2014). Management Communication (3rd e.d.). New Delhi: John Wiley & Sons Inc.

Donavan, D. T., Brown, T. J., & Mowen, J. C. (2004). Internal benefits of service-worker customer orientation: Job satisfaction, commitment, and organizational citizenship behaviors. Journal of marketing, 68 (1), 128-146.

dipadhungana profile image

The "you” perspective in business correspondence means looking at a topic from the reader’s point of view. It is about emphasizing on what the readers want or need to know to generate goodwill and positive results. Business correspondence aims on persuading the readers to buy a product, accept an offer, pay a bill or perform a service for the writer. For this, it is important to emphasize on what is in it for the readers and "you” perspective helps in doing so (Nordquist, 2018).

Effective writers make the readers believe that the most important person in their correspondence is the reader. The desires, problems, circumstances, emotions and probable reactions of the readers are taken into consideration in order to win their mind. We use "you” perspective to look at things from readers’ point of view, show benefits and positive aspects for the readers, protect the readers’ ego, express appreciation for readers and humanize the message (Business Communication).

People are self-centered, defensive, non-perfect, need specific goals, expect courtesy and want to feel appreciated. The "you” perspective tries to address these needs by focusing on what the readers receive or can do. It follows the principle that "you can buy in your own language but you have to sell in the language of the customers.” It makes the readers feel important, valued, cared and respected. The use of "you” in place of "I” or "we” can have significant impact in the mind of the readers (Hurley , 2007). It will be beneficial for the business as it helps in creation of friendly atmosphere, establishment of mutual trust, accomplishment of the correspondence’s objective and enhancement of goodwill.

For Example:

"You will receive your order tomorrow.” can grab more attention of the reader than "We shipped your order today and it will be delivered it by tomorrow.”

"Congratulations! Your loan is approved.” is more appealing than "We are happy to inform you that we have approved your loan.”

Business Communication. (n.d.). Business Communication. Retrieved from What is You Attitude in Business Communication: thebusinesscommunication.com/impor...

Hurley , S. (2007). Retrieved from The You Attitude and Reader-Centered Writing: ctconservation.org/sites/default/f...

Nordquist, R. (2018, January 23). Thought Co. Retrieved from Guidelines for Adopting the ‘You Attitude’ in Professional Writing: thoughtco.com/adopting-the-you-att...