THE READER'S POINT OF VIEW 1. Getting the reader's point of view in any occu pation.—To appreciate the other man's point of view is fundamental to success in any occupation. The most successful executives are those who best under stand the point of view of the employes under them ; and the most successful employes are those who are able to appreciate the viewpoint of the men higher up. The lawyer who best understands the point of view of the witness he examines gets the best results.
This sympathy and understanding is especially im portant in business correspondence. Frequently a correspondent fails to get the results he wants be cause he has at best only a hazy idea of the impression he wishes to make in his letter; and his idea is hazy in nearly every case because he is not sufficiently well acquainted with the addressee's point of view. On the other hand, if he does see clearly the point of view of the reader, he will have a definite idea of the several impressions he must make on the reader, and that in itself is a decided step toward success. Broad, in telligent, and unselfish interest in the other fellow is back of ability to look at a proposition thru another man's eyes. It explains the success of writers who base their salesmanship upon service. Policies of service which lie behind successful salesmanship can be developed only by men who do their thinking from the point of view of those they serve.
2. Real cause of ineffective writing.—The kind of thinking that results in effective letter-writing is always based on accurate and complete knowledge of the facts and conditions in the case, for only such knowledge can enable the writer to appeal effectively to his reader. The average business cor respondent is too much inclined to take a chance. He is constantly tempted merely to "guess" at the true condition of affairs that surround the addressee. Often a desire to finish his dictation as quickly as possible—which, for him, is an arduous task because he does not put the right kind of thinking into the work—tends to keep him from gathering information that would make his work more interesting and more effective.
If the correspondent takes pains to add constantly to his stock of information concerning those with whom he deals, his letters will improve from day to day, and he will come to look upon the task of writing effective letters as a real game; and, as in any other game, he will find that there is always a chance to lower the score of failures. But it is necessary to con centrate on each letter. If the writer thinks con stantly of the effects to be produced, he will gradually acquire keener appreciation of the reader's point of view; and this appreciation, in turn, will produce still greater concentration.
3. Reader's point of view in twenty years ago two young men of about equal ex perience and education began to work for the same company. One of them is now vice-president of the company. The other earns only $40 a week, as a general correspondent. It was just recently that the latter began to write really effective letters. But the man who became vice-president was writing effec tive letters within a year or two after he began to work for the firm. Why did the one take almost twenty years to become an effective writer, while the other attained success in two years? The answer to this question involves a comparison of the characters of the two men. The first was will ing to learn; the other was satisfied with what he knew. The first man acquired the habit of asking sensible questions, and the information he gained soon enabled him to reach the top. Here is his own statement of the case: My company soon gave me the chance to get on the road as a salesman. I accepted the chance eagerly because it would enable me at first to get hold of a lot of outside facts about the business; a knowledge of conditions that would be invaluable to me in view of my ambition to find out the possi bilities of developing business by mail.