Difference Between Reader & Writer Centered Messages

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Written communication categorization includes reader-centered messages and writer-centered messages. The difference between the message types involves focus. Reader-centered messages focus on the reader while writer-centered messages centers on the writer.

1 Significance

Written communication effectiveness relies on message type. Reader-centered messages tend to have more effectiveness than writer-centered messages, according to the University of Hawaii System. The University of Hawaii System notes reader-centered messages work better because the readers want to know how the message will affect them.

2 Features

Reader-centered messages use the pronoun “you” to center the message on the reader. Meanwhile, writer-centered messages heavily use the pronouns “I” and “we.” For example, “Congratulations, you have earned a football scholarship” acts as a reader-centered message while “We are happy to inform you that you have earned a football scholarship” serves as a writer-centered message.

3 Considerations

For negative communications, writer-centered messages prove more effective than reader-centered messages because negative reader-centered messages can trigger defensive responses. For instance, “You will need to email the following information because you sent us incomplete data” will likely cause a negative reaction compared to “I don’t have the information needed to complete your transaction. I would greatly appreciate it if you could send me the following information.”

Zachary Fenell is a 2009 graduate of Notre Dame College of Ohio. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in communication with minors in philosophy and writing. Fenell has been writing since 2002, when he joined his high school newspaper, "The Arc Light." In college Fenell won awards for excellence in English and communication.