Yes, a great email *is* all about YOU

Why you attitude is essential in making sure an email is effective and the readers care about your message.

I had a conference cancelled on me just 3 days before it was to start, owing to concerns about the Coronavirus (COVID-19). What I found interesting wasn’t the cancellation, but rather the reason they sent out in their cancellation email:

  • [message]
    • We are canceling this event because many of our customer and partners are no longer able to attend, and us continuing to hold the event would no longer meet our business goals.
The message makes me cringe as it shows a complete lack of you attitude, or writing in a style which puts the reader first. Phrases such as “the event would no longer meet our business goals” or "our customers and partners" shows completely disregard for the reader.

Essentially: why should I care that it no longer meets your business goals? How is that my problem? And really, why was it actually cancelled?

This is a clear example of Me Attitude, which should be avoided in communication. It is a poor way to engage with people, especially when delivering bad news. The reason for the cancellation was obvious given the current outbreak of the Coronavirus and there was a missed opportunity to engage with the audience to show concern by using you attitude.

A you attitude version of the email could have read:

  • [message]
    • Given the current COVID-19 situation and with your health and safety in mind, we made the difficult decision to cancel this week’s Conference.
Here, the clear emphasis on the reader, expressing concern as well as explaining why the conference had to be cancelled.

The key to writing in you attitude goes beyond using “you” in every sentence. When writing, try to keep the following 4 points in mind:
  • Why should the reader care about what I’m writing about?
  • What’s in it for them (their benefit)?
  • Emphasize what the reader wants to know
  • Protect the reader’s ego and intelligence
Writing with you attitude isn’t just good practice, it’s good business.


Photo by Japheth Mast on Unsplash

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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead: Yes, a great email *is* all about YOU
Yes, a great email *is* all about YOU
Why you attitude is essential in making sure an email is effective and the readers care about your message.
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Karn Bulsuk: Full Speed Ahead
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