Presentation on theme: "Business Communications Lesson Six FJU/AIEDL Dr. M. Connor Based on Excellence in Business Communication,5/e Thill and Bovée."— Presentation transcript:
Business Communications Lesson Six FJU/AIEDL Dr. M. Connor Based on Excellence in Business Communication,5/e Thill and Bovée
No body likes bad news People dont like to give it and people dont like to get it. The giving part is especially true from someone from an Asian culture, but in a work situation, there are times when bad news just has to be given. Westerners will appreciate it if you give them the bad news straight out, but there are ways to cushion the blow
NO! The word no is short and abrupt, so negative that a lot of people have trouble saying it. And for most people, its the hardest word to hear or understand The delivery can be far more damaging than the word itself.
The most dangerous no The most dangerous no is usually the one you dont explain. Thats why you must be careful when you deliver bad news. The three-step process can help you write bad-news messages that are more effective and less dangerous.
Step 1: Planning your bad-news message When your message is a negative one, analysis becomes extremely important. If your purpose is specific, you are able to word it in the best possible way. You want to be sure that a bad-news message should indeed be sent and should definitely be sent in writing.
Know your audience And you really need to know how your audience will receive your message. Do readers prefer to receive negative news up front without delay? Or would they accept it better if you explained your reasons first?
Get the facts Any investigation or research must yield reliable, unmistakable facts that will support your negative decision. Youll want to be sure you have all the facts your audience will need. After sending your bad news, you dont want to face a barrage of questions from confused readers
Keeping a good relationship Finally, youll want to pay particular attention to maintaining a good relationship with your audience. Be sure to adapt your medium and tone to your audience. Careful attention to adaptation can help you avoid alienating your readers.
Step 2: Writing your bad-news messages In a bad-news message, your main idea is a refusal, a rejection or a negative announcement, so you want to be careful about defining that main idea and about covering relevant points thoroughly and logically.
Which approach? Choosing between the direct and indirect approaches takes an added importance in bad-news messages. You need to know whether it will be better to open with the bad news or prepare your readers with an explanation before you give them the negative bits.
Word choice You also need to pay special attention to word choice so that you can create your sentences and paragraphs carefully.
Step 3: Completing your bad-news messages Revision is as important as the other steps in the writing process. It helps you make sure that your bad- news messages are organized properly, that they say what you want them to say, and that they do so concisely and clearly.
Strategies for bad-news messages There are five goals for bad-news messages: Give the bad news Ensure its acceptance Maintain the readers goodwill Maintain your organizations good image Reduce further correspondence on the matter.
Not an easy task! But there are some steps you can take that will make your bad-news messages more effective. Adopt an audience-centered tone Organize your message to meet your audiences needs and expectations by using either the direct or the indirect approach.
Adopting an audience-centered tone Your tone contributes to your messages effectiveness by helping your readers Accept that your bad-news represents a firm decision Understand that, under the circumstances, your decision was fair and reasonable Remain well disposed towards your business Preserve their pride
Tone When establishing tone, strive for Firmness Fairness Goodwill Respect
Use the you attitude Try to point out how your decision might actually further your audiences goals. Assume that your audience is interested in being fair, even when they are at fault
Choose positive words Just make sure that your positive tone doesnt hide the bad news behind difficult language. Remember, you want to convey the bad news, not cover it up.
Polite words chart INSTEAD OF THIS...SAY THIS... I cannot understand what you mean.Please clarify your request. The damage wont be fixed for a week.The item will be repaired.... There will be a delay in your order.We will ship your order as soon as possible. You are clearly dissatisfied.We are doing what we can to make things right. Your account is in error.Corrections have been made to your account. The breakage was not our fault.The merchandise was broken during shipping. Sorry for the inconvenience.The enclosed coupon will save you 45 next time. We regret the misunderstanding.Ill try my best to be more clear from now on. I was shocked to learn that youre unhappy.Your letter reached me yesterday. Unfortunately, we havent received it.It hasnt arrived yet. The enclosed statement is wrong.Please recheck the enclosed statement.
Use respectful language This way you convey respect and avoid an accusing tone and thus save your audiences pride. For instance, you might have to use the third person, impersonal and passive language. Say something like The appliance wont work after being submersed in water instead of You shouldnt have immersed the appliance in water.
The you attitude When your audience is at fault, the you attitude is better observed by avoiding the word you.
Using the direct approach As with most business messages, the key to choosing the best approach for bad-news messages is to analyze audience members first. How well do you know them? Some people would prefer to hear the bad news right away. Similarly, some situations are more appropriate for directness than others. If you know your audience would prefer the bad news first, or if the situation is minor and the news will cause your audience little pain or disappointment, then use the direct approach.
Using the indirect approach Beginning a bad news message with a blunt no could prevent your audience from reading or listening to your reasons. Some prefer some preparation or explanation first. So the indirect approach eases your audience into your bad news by explaining your reasons before giving the bad news.
Gaining acceptance Presenting the reasons first increases your chances of gaining audience acceptance by gradually preparing readers for the negative news to come.
Four-part sequence The indirect approach follows a four-part sequence Open with a buffer Continue with a logical, neutral explanation of the reasons for the bad news Follow with a clear but diplomatic statement of the bad news, emphasizing any good news and de-emphasizing the bad Close with a positive forward-looking statement that is helpful and friendly.
Open with a buffer A neutral, noncontroversial statement that is closely related to the point of the message is called a buffer. Breaking bad news with kindness and courtesy is the humane way to do things. Consideration for the feelings of others is never dishonest, and consideration helps others accept your message.
Buffers Use a buffer that is Neutral Relevant Not misleading Assertive Succinct To write an effective buffer, avoid giving the impression that good news will follow.
Examples One: Your resume indicates that you would be well-suited for a management trainee position with our company. Two: Your resume shows very clearly why you would be interested in becoming a management trainee with our company.
Analysis The second one emphasizes the applicants interpretations of her qualifications rather than the companys evaluation of her qualifications. The first could be misleading, the second, less so.
Things to avoid in writing a buffer Other things you need to avoid when writing a buffer: Avoid saying no. Avoid using a know-it-all tone. Avoid wordy and irrelevant phrases and sentences. Avoid apologizing. Avoid writing a buffer that is too long.
Avoid saying no No matter how good the rest of the message is, youve already lost your audience.
Avoid using a know-it-all tone When you use phrases like you should be aware that, readers expect your lecture to lead to a negative response, so they resist the rest of your message.
Avoid wordy and irrelevant phrases and sentences Sentences such as We have received your letter, This letter is in reply to request, We are writing in response to your request are irrelevant. Make better use of the space by referring directly to the letter.
Avoid apologizing Unless warranted by extreme circumstances, an apology only weakens the following explanation of your unfavorable news.
Avoid writing a buffer that is too long Be brief. Identify something that both you and your audience are interested in and agree on before proceeding in a business like way.
Follow your buffer with reasons Present the reasons that show that your decision is fair and reasonable. One way to be tactful is to emphasize how your decision benefits your readers rather than focusing on how the decision is good for your company. For example, when denying a credit request, you can show how your decision will prevent the person from becoming overextended financially. Facts and figures are often helpful in convincing members of your audience that youre acting in their best interest.
Reasons Well-written reasons are Detailed Tactful Individualized Unapologetic Positive
Good example paragraph Because these management trainee positions are quite challenging, our human relations department has researched the qualifications needed to succeed in them. The findings show that the two most important qualifications are a bachelors degree in business administration and two years supervisory experience.
Analysis This paragraph does a good job of stating the reasons for the refusal because: It provides enough detail to make the reason for the refusal logically acceptable It implies that the applicant is better off avoiding a program in which he or she would probably fail, given the background of potential co-workers It explains the companys policy as logical rather than rigid It offers no apology for the decision It avoids negative personal expressions (You do not meet our requirements.)
Then state the bad news To handle bad news carefully De-emphasize the bad news visually and grammatically Use a conditional statement Tell what you did do, not what you didnt do for the audience
Examples The five positions currently open have been staffed with people whose qualifications match those uncovered by our research. There, you dont even say it outright that they are rejected. You may also add a line like When you have more managerial experience, you are welcome to reapply.
Finally, end with a positive close Keep it positive. Dont refer to, repeat, or apologize for the bad news, and avoid expressing any doubt that your reasons will be accepted. Avoid statements like I trust our decision is satisfactory. Of course, its not going to be satisfactory!
Limit future correspondence Encourage future communication only if youre willing to discuss the decision further.
Be optimistic about the future Dont anticipate problems.
Be sincere Steer clear of clichés that are insincere in view of the bad news. Avoid saying something like If we can be of any help, please contact us. If you were helping them, you wouldnt be writing a bad news letter!
Be confident Dont show any doubt about keeping a person as a customer. Avoid phrases like We hope you will continue to do business with us.
Example Many companies seek other qualifications in management trainees, so I urge you to continue your job search. Youll certainly find an opening in which your skills and aspirations will match the job requirements exactly.
Refusing claims.When refusing a claim, avoid language that might have a negative impact on the reader. Instead: Demonstrate that you understand and have considered the complaint. Explain your refusal Suggest alternative action.
Defamation You may be tempted to respond to something particularly outrageous by calling the person responsible a crook, a swindler or an incompetent. KEEP IT IN YOUR HEAD! If you dont, you could be sued for defamation, a false statement that tends to damage someones character.
Technical difference When defamation is spoken, the charge is slander. Remember this because they both start with s. When defamation is written, the charge is libel.
Suing for defamation By definition, someone suing for defamation would have to prove 1) that the statements is false 2) that the language is injurious to the persons reputation 3) that the statement has been published.
Be aware! If you can prove that your accusations are true, you havent defamed the person. The courts are likely to give you the benefit of the doubt, but you still need to be careful.
Guidelines Avoid using any kind of abusive language or terms that could be considered defamatory. If you wish to express your own personal opinions about a sensitive matter, use your personal stationery and dont include your job title or position. Take responsibility for your actions without involving your company. Provide accurate information and stick to the facts. Never let anger or malice motivate your messages. Consult your companys legal department or an attorney whenever you think a message might have legal consequences. Communicate honestly and make sure that you are saying what you believe to be true.
Rejecting job applicants Many of you will have to reject job applications in the future, and this is never easy. But you must send the message. Not sending a rejection to an applicant, especially one who has interviewed, is unacceptable.
Three guidelines Open with the direct approach. Clearly state why the applicant was not selected. Close by suggesting alternatives.
Open with the direct approach Job applicants know that good news will most likely come by phone and that bad news will most likely come by letter. If you try to buffer the bad news your reader is expecting, you will seem manipulative and insincere.
Clearly state why the applicant was not selected Make your rejection less personal by stating that you hired someone with more experience or whose qualifications match the position requirements more closely.
Close by suggesting alternatives If you believe the applicant is qualified, mention other openings within your company. You might suggest professional organizations that could help the applicant find employment. Or you might simply mention that the applicants resume will be considered for future openings. Any of these positive suggestions may help the applicant be less disappointed and view your company more positively.
Not long A rejection letter need not be long. Sending a well-written form letter following these guidelines is better than sending no letter at all. The applicant only wants to know one thing: did I get the job?
Negative performance reviews. A performance review is a managers formal or informal evaluation of an employee. The main purpose of these reviews is to improve employee performance by Emphasizing and clarifying job requirements Giving employees feedback on their efforts towards fulfilling those requirements, and Guiding continued efforts by developing a plan of action, along with rewards and opportunities
Guidelines When you need to give a negative review, remember these guidelines: Confront the problem right away. Plan your message. Deliver messages in private. Ask for a commitment from the employee.
Confront the problem right away Avoiding performance problems only makes them worse.
Plan your message I say this all the time, but its a must. Be clear about your concerns, and include examples of specific actions. Think about any possible biases you may have, and get feedback from others.
Deliver messages in private Whether in writing or in person, be sure to address performance problems privately. Dont send performance reviews by e- mail or fax. If youre reviewing an employees performance face-to-face, conduct the review in a meeting specifically for that purpose
Focus on the problem Discuss the problems caused by the employees behavior without attacking the employee. Compare the employees performance with whats expected, with company goals, or with job requirements. Identify the consequences of continuing poor performance, and show that youre committed to helping to solve the problem.
Ask for a commitment from the employee Help the employee understand that planning for and making improvements are the employees responsibility. However, finalize decisions jointly so that you can be sure any action to be taken is achievable. Set a schedule for improvement and for following up with evaluations of that improvement.