Every document has a subject: what is
the document about?
That subject is usually either a situation
or a person.
People as the subjects of documents
are actually rare in the workplace. Why?
Every document is written for someone
to read. Who will read this document?
What is that person’s education level,
expectations for the document, needs,
wants, and preferences?
See Audience Profile Sheet, under
Kind of Reader: Primary Secondary
Reader’s Job Title:
Attitude Toward the Writer:
Attitude Toward the Subject:
Expectations about the Subject:
Expectations about the Document:
Reasons for Reading the Document:
Reader’s Physical Environment:
Most Common Errors on
Misunderstanding who the audience is
for the document. They often confuse
themselves with the reader.
Assuming that because we are “role
playing,” the details are either not
required or not necessary.
Leaving whole sections of the profile
blank because they can’t or don’t know
what kind of person would likely be in
the reader’s position.
INFORM (about what?)
PERSUADE (of what?)
Most Common Errors on Purpose
Not using the two verbs “inform” and
Unable to determine what they are
persuading the audience of with the
What is the situation, or “back story”?
What happened before the document
that caused the document to be written
in the first place?
Most Common Errors on Context
Not understanding what Context even is.
Not telling the whole story—either jumping
into the middle of it, leaving out the ending,
or being too vague with the details.
Unable to place themselves into the
position of the writer at a certain workplace,
dealing with a certain situation.
Unable to distinguish between “ConTEXT”
Long-term (in the future)
What do you want, expect or need to
have happen (either right away or some
time in the future) as a result of writing
Most Common Errors on Goals
Very rarely are any mistakes made on
the Short-Term (Immediate) goal.
For Long-Term, not thinking far enough
into the future.
Also for long-term, not anticipating bad
outcomes, such as lawsuits, bad
customer reactions to bad news, or not
anticipating backlash that lands on