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.


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.


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.


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.”

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