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1 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. WRITING BAD-NEWS MESSAGES
2 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Objectives Choose correctly between indirect and direct approaches Establish proper tone from the beginning of message Present bad news in a reasonable and understandable way Write messages that motivate your audience to take constructive action Close messages that build positive relationship with your business
3 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Objective of Indirect Approach Ease the reader/audience into the part of the message that justifies the decision or builds goodwill Convey the bad-news without bruising the readers feelings Help reader know the decision is firm, fair, and still build goodwill
4 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Indirect Approach Open with a buffer statement to soften the blow & demonstrate respect Give reasons for refusing Refuse Offer alternative, if possible Close with positive, helpful tone
5 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Some Approaches for the Buffer Agreement Appreciation Cooperation Good News Understanding Fairness
6 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Buffer Basics Avoid saying no Dont build up false hopes Dont Apologize Do make it relevant Do stick to the point Do be concise
7 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Reasons for Refusal Basics Begin with most positive to negative Dont use company policy unless... Do devote most of letter to reasons Do use positive/nonjudgmental tone Dont apologize
8 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Stating the Refusal Make answer clear but positive Place bad-news in middle of paragraph Minimize space saying it; get to the point Use if or when to suggest conditions for future good-news Dont be blunt Offer alternative if possible
9 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Bad-News Closings Dont repeat bad-news Conclude on positive note Provide possible solution Provide resale and sales promotion Dont leave area open for further discussion Watch doubtful/hopeful/insincere tone
10 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Indirect Direct Weigh the Indirect to Direct Approaches
11 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Direct Use of the Direct Approach For internal memos For routine bad- news to other businesses For audience who prefer direct news For situations that demand firmness For minor negatives For close friends and associates For bad-news first, then reasons, then a courteous close For shorter message
12 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. And Now For Some Examples
13 ©1999 Prentice-Hall, Inc. Your Mission Review the poorly written bad- news letter in groups and be prepared to indicate how it could be rewritten.
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