What is Positive Emphasis? How to Create Positive Emphasis with Example and Situation



What is Positive Emphasis? How to Create Positive Emphasis with Example and Situation


Positive emphasis
Positive emphasis is a way of looking at things. such as Is the bottle half empty or half full? You can create positive emphasis with the words, information, organization, and layout you choose.



How to Create Positive Emphasis
Create positive emphasis by using the following five techniques:
1. Avoid negative words and words with negative connotations.
2. Focus on what the audience can do rather than on limitations.
3. Justify negative information by giving a reason or linking it to an audience benefit.
4. If the negative is truly unimportant, omit it.
5. Put the negative information in the middle and present it compactly.

Choose the technique that produces the clearest, most accurate sentence.
1. Avoid negative words and words with negative connotations.
Figure 3.3 lists some common negative words. If you find one of these words in a draft, try to substitute a more positive word. When you must use a negative, use the least negative term that will convey your meaning. The following examples show how to replace negative words with positive words.
Negative: We have failed to finish taking inventory.
Better: We haven’t finished taking inventory.
Still better: We will be finished taking inventory Friday.
Negative: If you can’t understand this explanation, feel free to call me.
Better: If you have further questions, just call me.
Still better: Omit the sentence. Omit double negatives.
Negative: Never fail to back up your documents.
Better: Always back up your documents. When you must use a negative term, use the least negative word that is accurate.

Negative: Your balance of $830 is delinquent.
Better: Your balance of $830 is past due. Getting rid of negatives has the added benefit of making what you write easier to understand. Sentences with three or more negatives are very hard to understand. Beware of hidden negatives: words that are not negative in themselves but become negative in context. But and however indicate a shift, so, after a positive statement, they are negative.
I hope and I trust that suggest that you aren’t sure. Patience may sound like a virtue, but it is a necessary virtue only when things are slow. Even positives about a service or product may backfire if they suggest that in the past the service or product was bad.
Negative: I hope this is the information you wanted. [Implication: I’m not sure.]
Better: Enclosed is a brochure about road repairs scheduled for 2007–09.
Still better: The brochure contains a list of all roads and bridges scheduled for repair during 2007–09. Call Gwen Wong at 555-3245 for specific dates when work will start and stop and for alternate routes.
Negative: Please be patient as we switch to the automated system. [Implication: You can expect problems.]
Better: If you have questions during our transition to the automated system, call Melissa Morgan.
Still better: You’ll be able to get information instantly about any house on the market when the automated system is in place. If you have questions during the transition, call Melissa Morgan.
Negative: Now Crispy Crunch tastes better.
[Implication: it used to taste terrible.]
Better: Now Crispy Crunch tastes even better. Removing negatives does not mean being arrogant or pushy.
Negative: I hope that you are satisfied enough to place future orders.
Arrogant: I look forward to receiving all of your future business.
Better: Call Mercury whenever you need computer chips.
When you eliminate negative words, be sure to maintain accuracy. Words that are exact opposites will usually not be accurate. Instead, use specifics to be both positive and accurate.

Negative: The exercycle is not guaranteed for life.
Not true: The exercycle is guaranteed for life.
True: The exercycle is guaranteed for 10 years.
Negative: Customers under 60 are not eligible for the Prime Time discount.
Not true: You must be over 60 to be eligible for the Prime Time discount.
True: If you’re 60 or older, you can save 10% on all your purchases with Right Way’s Prime Time discount. Legal phrases also have negative connotations for most readers and should be avoided whenever possible. The idea will sound more positive if you use normal English.
Negative: If your account is still delinquent, a second, legal notice will be sent to you informing you that cancellation of your policy will occur 30 days after the date of the legal notice if we do not receive your check.

Better: Even if your check is lost in the mail and never reaches us, you still have a 30-day grace period. If you do get a second notice, you will know that your payment hasn’t reached us. To keep your account in good standing, stop payment on the first check and send a second one.

2. Focus on what the audience can do rather than on limitations.
When there are limits, or some options are closed, focus on the alternatives that remain.
Negative: We will not allow you to charge more than $1,500 on your VISA account.
Better: You can charge $1,500  on your new VISA card.
or: Your new VISA card gives you $1,500 in credit that you can use at thousands of stores nationwide.
As you focus on what will happen, check for you-attitude.
In the last example,
“We will allow you to charge $1,500” would be positive, but it lacks you-attitude.
When you have a benefit and a requirement the audience must meet to get the benefit, the sentence is usually more positive if you put the benefit first.
Negative: You will not qualify for the student membership rate of $25 a year unless you are a full-time student.
Better: You get all the benefits of membership for only $25 a year if you’re a fulltime student.

3. Justify negative information by giving a reason or linking it to an audience benefit.
A reason can help your audience see that the information is necessary; a benefit can suggest that the negative aspect is outweighed by positive factors. Be careful, however, to make the logic behind your reason clear and to leave no loopholes.
Negative: We Cannot sell individual report covers.
Loophole: To keep down packaging costs and to help you save on shipping and handling costs, we sell report covers in packages of 12.
Suppose the customer says, “I’ll pay the extra shipping and handling. Send me seven.” If you truly sell only in packages of 12, you need to say so:
Better: To keep down packaging costs and to help customers save on shipping and handling costs, we sell report covers  only in packages of 12.
If you link the negative element to a benefit, be sure it is a benefit your audience will acknowledge. Avoid telling people that you’re doing things “for their own good.” They may have a different notion of what their own good is. You may think you’re doing customers a favor by limiting their credit so they don’t get in over their heads and go bankrupt. They may think they’d be better off with more credit so they could expand in hopes of making more sales and more profits.

4. If the negative is truly unimportant, omit it.
Omit negatives only when
The audience does not need the information to make a decision.
You have already given the audience the information and they have access to the previous communication.
The information is trivial.
The following examples suggest the kind of negatives you can omit:
Negative: A one-year subscription to PC Magazine is $49.97. That rate is not as low as the rates charged for some magazines.
Better: A one-year subscription to PC Magazine is $49.97.
Still better: A one-year subscription to PC Magazine is $49.97. You save 43% off the newsstand price of $87.78.
Negative: If you are not satisfied with Interstate Fidelity Insurance, you do not have to renew your policy.
Better: Omit the sentence.

5. Put the negative information in the middle and present it compactly.
Put negatives at the beginning or end only if you want to emphasize the negative. To deemphasize a written negative, put it in the middle of a paragraph rather than in the first or last sentence and in the middle of the message rather than in the first or last paragraphs.
When a letter or memo runs several pages, remember that the bottom of the first page is also a position of emphasis, even if it is in the middle of a paragraph, because of the extra white space of the bottom margin. (The first page gets more attention because it is on top and the reader’s eye may catch lines of the message even when he or she isn’t consciously reading it; the tops and bottoms of subsequent pages don’t get this extra attention.) If possible, avoid placing negative information at the bottom of the first page.
Giving a topic lots of space emphasizes it. Therefore, you can de-emphasize negative information by giving it as little space as possible. Give negative information only once in your message. Don’t list negatives vertically on the page since lists take space and emphasize material.

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