Presentation on theme: "Writing Negative Messages"— Presentation transcript:
1Writing Negative Messages ENG 412Writing Negative Messages
2pattern is better for delivering bad news? Refuse routine requests and claimsBreak bad news to customersBreak bad news to employeesNegativeMessagesWhichorganizationpattern is better for delivering bad news?DIRECTINDIRECT
3BadNewsReasonsClosingThe direct strategy is appropriate for delivering bad news in some situations.
4When . . . The receiver may overlook the bad news. ReasonsClosingWhen . . .The receiver may overlook the bad news.Organization policy suggests directness.The receiver prefers directness.Firmness is necessary.The bad news is not damaging.The receiver’s goodwill is not an issue.
5Goals in Communicating Bad News Acceptance—try to help receiver understand and accept the bad news.Positive image—promote good image of yourself and your organization.Message clarity—make the message clearGoodwill—maintain goodwillMinimize—aim to try to reduce future correspondence on the issue to a minimum
6The indirect strategy allows you to prepare the reader before delivering the bad news, thus softening the impact of the bad news.BufferReasonsBadNewsClosing
7Possible Buffers for Opening Bad-News Messages ReasonsBadNewsClosingBest newsComplimentAppreciationAgreementFactsUnderstandingApology
8Evaluating Buffer Statements How effective is the following opening for a letter that refuses credit?Unfortunately, your application for credit has been reviewed negatively.(Gives the bad news too directly)
9Evaluating Buffer Statements How effective is the following opening for a letter that refuses credit?We are delighted to receive your application for credit.(Gives the wrong impression)
10Evaluating Buffer Statements How effective is the following opening for a letter that refuses credit?The recent fall in the value of the American dollar was a surprise to many banking experts.(Irrelevant)
11Evaluating Buffer Statements How effective is the following opening for a letter that refuses a request for a donation?Your request for a financial contribution has been referred to me for reply.(Too impersonal)
12Evaluating Buffer Statements How effective is the following opening for a letter that refuses a request for a donation?We appreciate the fine work that your organization is doing to meet the needs of parents and very young children.(Compliments the reader, but does not suggest approval)
13Presenting the Reasons BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingBe cautious in explaining.Cite reader benefits, if possible.Explain company policy, if relevant.Choose positive words.Show that the matter was treated seriously and fairly.
14BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingTo reveal the bad news with sensitivity, learn these Seven Techniques for Deemphasizing Bad News.
15Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 7eChapter 1, Slide 15
16Avoid the spotlight. Put the bad news in the middle of a paragraph halfway through the message. Use a long sentence. Don’t put the bad news in a short, simple sentence.Place the bad news in a subordinate clause.Although we have no position for an individual with your qualifications at this time, we are pleased that you thought of us when you started your job search.
17Be clear but not too specific. Instead of thisOur investigation reveals that you owe three creditors large sums and that you were fired from your last job.Try thisOur investigation reveals that your employment status and your financial position are unstable at this time.
18Imply the refusal. Instead of this We cannot contribute to your charity this year.Try thisAlthough all our profits must be reinvested in our company this year, we hope to be able to support your future fund-raising activities.
19Suggest an alternative. Although the cashmere sweater cannot be sold at the wrongly listed price of $18, we can allow you to purchase this $218 item for only $118.Use the passive voice.Instead of thisWe cannot make a contribution at this time.Try thisA contribution cannot be made at this time.
20Passive-voice verbs focus attention on actions rather than on personalities. They are useful in being tactful.Active voiceI cannot allow you to return the DVD player becausePassive voiceReturn of the DVD player is not allowed becauseRyan checked the report, but he missed the error.The report was checked, but the error was missed.
21Closing Bad-News Messages BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingAvoid endings that sound impersonal. Try to useA forward lookInformation about alternativeGood wishesFreebiesResale or sales promotion
23Writing Plan for Refusing Requests or Claims BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingStart with a neutral statement on which both reader and writer can agree, such as a compliment, an expression of appreciation, a quick review of the facts, or an apology.Try to include a key idea or word that acts as a transition to the explanation.
24Writing Plan for Refusing Requests or Claims BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingPresent valid reasons for the refusal, avoiding words that create a negative tone.Include resale or sales promotion, if appropriate.
25Writing Plan for Refusing Requests or Claims BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingMake the bad news more acceptable by positioning it strategically, using the passive voice, stressing the positive, or implying a refusal.Suggest a compromise or substitute, if possible.
26Writing Plan for Refusing Requests or Claims BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingRenew good feelings with a positive statement.Look forward to continued business.Avoid referring to the bad news.
27Model Refusal Letters Click icon to view letter illustrating refusal of a donation request.Click icon to viewmemo refusing an internalrequest before revision.Click icon to viewrevised memo.
28Examine This Effective Refusal of Request for Cash Refund Open letterby clickingicon at right.
30Controlling Damage With Disappointed Customers Call the individual involved.Describe the problem and apologize.ExplainWhy the problem occurred.What you are doing to resolve it.How you will prevent the problem from happening again.Look forward to positive future relations
31letter illustrating a bad- news follow-up message. Follow with a letter thatDocuments details discussed in the phone call.Looks forward to positive future relations.Click icon to viewletter illustrating a bad-news follow-up message.
32Denying Claims Don’t blame customers, even if they are at fault. Avoid you statements.Use neutral, objective language to explain why the claim must be refused.Consider offering resale information to rebuild the customer’sconfidence in yourproducts or organization.Click icon to viewmodel letter.
34Writing Plan for Breaking Bad News to Employees BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingOpen with a neutral or positive statement that transitions to the reasons for the bad news.Consider mentioning the best news, a compliment, appreciation, agreement, or solid facts.Show understanding.
35Explain the logic behind the bad news. BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingExplain the logic behind the bad news.Provide a rational explanation using positive words and displaying empathy.Try to show reader benefits, if possible.BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingPosition the bad news so that it does not stand out.Be positive without exaggerating.Use objective language.
36before-revision letter after-revision letter. BufferReasonsBadNewsClosingProvide information about an alternative, if one exists.If appropriate, describe what will happen next.Look forward positively.Click icon to viewbefore-revision letterannouncing bad news toemployees.Click icon to viewafter-revision letter.