The basic point of much of the work on talking to people was that you must consider your listener. Effective writing is equally dependent on this quality of empathy, but in writing it is easier to forget, or ignore, the needs of the reader. When we are speaking to someone they do at least have the option of interrupting us and saying whether they need a point clarified. When we write, the potential reader is not with us looking over our shoulder. If a letter, memo, or report is misleading or confusing we are not with the reader when this becomes apparent. Our reader may well take action as a result of what we have written, and if the action is inappropriate because a memo was misleading, it is too late for us to do anything about it, the damage has been done.
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