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Business Communication: Process and Product, Mary Ellen Guffey, South-Western.

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1 Business Communication: Process and Product, Mary Ellen Guffey, South-Western.

2  Everyone has to give bad news and negative messages sometime. You may have had to tell someone that he or she did not receive an award or win an election. You may have broken up with a sweetheart or have told someone about another couple ’ s breakup. You may have had to tell someone of the death of a friend or relative.

3 u In business, people also have to send bad news messages. Bad news comes in many forms: u the rejection for employment or promotion; the denial of credit; a job resignation; a customer complaint about a product or service received from a store; a collection letter; a change in company policy; the curtailment of services; and so forth.

4 What kind of messages can be regarded as negative news? u Messages refusing routine requests.refusing routine requests u Messages delivering bad news to customers.bad news to customers. u Messages dealing with negative organization news.negative organization news.

5 Goals in Communicating Bad News u To make the reader understand and accept the bad news  To promote and maintain a good image of the writer and the writer ’ s organization u To make the message so clear that additional correspondence is unnecessary u To avoid legal liability Acceptance Positive image Message clarity Protection

6 Part I Strategies for Breaking Bad News

7 Why should we write bad news carefully? u Because bad news __________, _______, and sometimes even _______ the reader, such messages must be written carefully. u Because we want to reach the four goals in communicating bad news, such messages must be written carefully.four goals disappoints irritates angers

8 How can we reveal bad news successfully? u If we want to break bad news successfully, we have to reduce the bad feelings associated with disappointing news. u The sting of bad news can be reduced by giving reasons and communicating sensitively. u Thus, in most cases, indirect pattern is better than direct pattern for revealing bad news.indirect pattern direct pattern

9 Why is indirect pattern better than direct pattern u By using indirect pattern, you prepare the reader before revealing the bad news, thus soften the impact of this message.  The indirect strategy enables writers to keep the readers ’ attention until you have been able to explain the reasons for the bad news.

10 The direct pattern may be more effective in situations such as the following: P335-336 When the receiver may overlook(fail to notice) the bad news. When organization policy suggests directness. When the receiver prefers directness. When the firmness is necessary. When the bad news is not damaging.

11 Part I Objective 1 and Objective 3 Using the Indirect Pattern to Preapre the Reader Developing Bad-News Messages

12 u When developing bad-news messages, writers can use whichever strategy (indirect or direct ) seems most appropriate to the situations or to their organizations. u As I have metioned before, today we will learn how to develop and apply the indirect strategy.

13 Activity u Turn to page 353 and finish Activity 10.1

14 The Indirect Pattern Buffer

15 Buffer Reasons

16 Buffer Reasons Bad News

17 The Indirect Pattern Buffer Reasons Bad News Close More details in figures 10.1 and 10.2

18

19 The 4-part Indirect Pattern  – a neutral or positive opening that does not reveal the bad news  – an explanation of the causes for the bad news  – a clear but understated( 轻描 淡写的 ) announcement of the bad news that may include an alternative or compromise  – a personalizing, fo rward- looking, pleasant statement Buffer Reasons Bad News Close

20 Dear Mr. Jackson, Thank you for allowing us to review your credentials and interview you in our search for a Marketing Director. We regard this position as integral to the success of our expanding operations, and the high caliber of the applicants impressed us all. The committee enjoyed talking to you about your extensive background in the Mid-Western division of Honeymaker. Because of our intention to open up a new Latin American division, we determined that international marketing experience and fluency in Spanish would be two key cretiria in the selection process. We have therefore offered the position to a bilingual applicant with over ten years of involvement in the Latin American market. You were one of the top candidates in the group, and we are confident that your excellent qualifications will gain you a challenging position with a company that can optimize your strenghths in the domestic market. Thank you again for your interest in Honeymaker; we take it as a compliment that someone with your expertise would like to work with us. We wish you well in your search for a marketing position that will put your excellent managerial experience to best use. Yours sincerely,

21 What can good buffer do? u Avoid revealing the bad news immediately.  Provide a natural transition to the next part — the reasons. u Avoid conveying a false impression that good news follows. BACK

22 Why are reasons the most important part in the bad-news message? u Without sound reasons for denying or refusing, a letter will fail, no matter how cleverly it is organized or written. u Providing reasons for bad news reduces feelings of illwill and improves the chances that the reader will accept the bad news. BACK

23 Why should the writer cushion( 减轻 … 的打击 ) the bad news? u Readers often suffer personally from the bad news. u If the writer is relationship-oriented one, he/she will prefer to cushion the blow of bad news by using thoughtful techniques. BACK

24 Why should the writer close the bad-news message pleasantly? u A pleasant satement in the closing of the message can promote goodwill in readers.

25 Part 2 Refusing Routine Request NO!

26 Refusing Routine Request includes: u Refusing proposals from employees. u Rejecting requests for contributions of money, time, equipment, or other support. u Rejecting requests for favors, information and action. u Declining invitation.

27 Which pattern should be used? u Depending on how you think the receiver will react to your refusal, you can use the direct or indirect pattern. u If you have any doubt, use the indirect pattern. u The indirect pattern used in bad-news message can also be called reasons- before-refusal pattern.

28 “Before” – Ineffective Customer Request Refusal (Activity 10.7)

29 Customer Request Refusal – “Before” Version Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours.

30 Customer Request Refusal – “Before” Version You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility( 多功能 性 ) and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model – one that’s more within your price range. Do give us a call. Sincerely, You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility( 多功能 性 ) and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model – one that’s more within your price range. Do give us a call. Sincerely,

31 Critical Thinking Questions 1. What is the purpose of the previous letter? What goals should the sender have? 2. What prevents this letter from achieving those goals? 3. What pattern of development would work best for this letter? Has it been followed? 4. What idea could be used as a buffer to open an improved version of this letter? Write a buffer.

32 Critical Thinking Questions 5. How could the bad news be subordinated? Write a statement that subordinates the bad news. 6. What friendly news could be used in the closing? Write a closing statement.

33 “After” – Improved Customer Request Refusal

34 Customer Request Refusal – “After” Version Dear Mr. Waters: We’re happy to learn that you are enjoying the use of the Sako copier you’ve been leasing for the past ten months. Like our many other customers, you have discovered that Sako copiers offer remarkable versatility and reliability. One of the reasons we’re able to offer these outstanding copiers at such low leasing rates and equally low purchase prices is that we maintain a slim profit margin. If our program included a provision for Dear Mr. Waters: We’re happy to learn that you are enjoying the use of the Sako copier you’ve been leasing for the past ten months. Like our many other customers, you have discovered that Sako copiers offer remarkable versatility and reliability. One of the reasons we’re able to offer these outstanding copiers at such low leasing rates and equally low purchase prices is that we maintain a slim profit margin. If our program included a provision for

35 Customer Request Refusal – “After” Version applying lease payments toward the purchase price, our overall prices would have to be higher. Although lease payments cannot be credited toward purchase price, we can offer you other Sako models that are within your price range. The Sako 400 delivers the same reliability with nearly as many features as the Sako 600. Please let us demonstrate the Sako 400 to your staff in your office, Mr. Waters. Our representative, Tracy Wilson, will call you soon to arrange a time. Sincerely, applying lease payments toward the purchase price, our overall prices would have to be higher. Although lease payments cannot be credited toward purchase price, we can offer you other Sako models that are within your price range. The Sako 400 delivers the same reliability with nearly as many features as the Sako 600. Please let us demonstrate the Sako 400 to your staff in your office, Mr. Waters. Our representative, Tracy Wilson, will call you soon to arrange a time. Sincerely, BACK

36 Techniques for Refusing Routine Request

37 Buffer u Pay a compliment, show appreciation for a past action, or refer to something mutually understood. (in the improved version on page 339, the writer starts with a buffer that delivers honest praise and the buffer also includes the date of the meeting, which is used to connect the reasons that follow.) u Avoid raising false hopes. u Avoid thanking the receiver for something you are about to refuse. Other techniques are on P332

38 Reasons u Explain why the request must be denied, without revealing the refusal, just focus on positive elements. u Show how your decision benefits the receiver or others, if possible. –Mark is specialist. –The company relies on his expertise. –Everyone will benefit if he passes up the conference. Other techniques are on P333

39 Bad News u Soften the bad news by: –subordinating it (although we can't loan our equipment, we wish you well in...) –using the passive voice (although our equipment can't be loaned) –embedding it in a long sentence or paragraph u Consider implying the refusal, but be certain it is clear. (in the improved version on page 339, the writer implies the refusal) u Suggest an alternative, if one exists. Other techniques are on P334

40 Close u Supply more information about an alternative, if one is offered (in the improved version on page 339, the writer suggests a qualified alternative) u Look forward to future relations. u Offer good wishes and compliments. u Avoid referring to the refusal. Other techniques are on P335

41 Part 4 SENDING BAD NEWS TO CUSTOMERS Page 342

42 Customer bad-news messages typically handle: u Problems with orders u Denial of claims u Credit refusals

43 What is the difference between customer letter and other negative message u The customer letter usually include resale or sales promotion emphasis.

44 Buffer  Express appreciation for the customer ’ s patronage or for his or her writing. u Show agreement on some point, review the facts, or show understanding.

45 Reasons u Justify the bad news with objective reasons (except in credit denials).  Use resale, if appropriate, to restore the customer ’ s confidence. u Avoid blaming the customer or hiding behind company policy. u Look for reader benefits.

46 Bad News u State the bad news objectively or imply it. u Use resale or sales promotion only if you think it will not be offensive.

47 Close u Suggest an action or an alternative. u Look forward to future business, offer best wishes, refer to gifts.  Don ’ t mention the bad news.

48 Negative News for Customers - Improved Document for Analysis 10.8 on page 355 “After” Version

49 Dear Charge Customers: We at Golden West Print and Frame Shop appreciate the confidence you've shown in our past services, and we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future. One of the ways we have served our customers in the past was with in-house charge accounts. As a small but growing business, we have found that carrying our own credit has become quite costly. Dear Charge Customers: We at Golden West Print and Frame Shop appreciate the confidence you've shown in our past services, and we look forward to continuing to serve you in the future. One of the ways we have served our customers in the past was with in-house charge accounts. As a small but growing business, we have found that carrying our own credit has become quite costly. “After” Version - Document for Analysis 10.8

50 Rather than raise our prices to maintain that service, we have decided to eliminate in-house charge accounts in favor of bank credit cards. At no extra charge, you may now use either Visa or MasterCard in purchasing prints or frames. Drop by soon and use your bank credit card to charge a selection from our new collection of museum-quality gilded wood frames. Rather than raise our prices to maintain that service, we have decided to eliminate in-house charge accounts in favor of bank credit cards. At no extra charge, you may now use either Visa or MasterCard in purchasing prints or frames. Drop by soon and use your bank credit card to charge a selection from our new collection of museum-quality gilded wood frames. “After” Version - Document for Analysis 10.8 BACK

51 Part 5 MANAGING NEGATIVE ORGANIZATION NEWS Page 346

52 Managing Negative Organization News includes: u Announcing bad news to employees. (Such as declining profits, lost contracts, harmful lawsuits, public relations controversies, cutbacks in pay, reduction of benefits, relocation plans, and changes in policy) Announcing bad news to employees. u Saying No to job applicants Saying No to job applicants

53 Buffer u Provide some good news (if possible), praise, appreciation, agreement, or understanding. u Discuss facts leading to the reasons section.

54 Reasons u Explain what caused the decision necessitating the bad news. u Use objective, nonjudgmental, and nondiscriminatory language. u Show empathy and fairness.

55 Bad News  Explain the bad news clearly, but don ’ t accentuate it. u Avoid negative language.

56 Close u End on a positive, friendly note. u For job refusals, extend good wishes.

57 Saying No to a Job Applicant - Improved Document for Analysis 10.9 on page 355 “After” Version

58 Dear Mr. Franklin: Ms. Sievers and I were pleased to interview you last Thursday and tell you something about the Maxwell Corporation and its operations. Dear Mr. Franklin: Ms. Sievers and I were pleased to interview you last Thursday and tell you something about the Maxwell Corporation and its operations. “After” Version - Document for Analysis 10.9

59 We were fortunate to have a number of well- qualified individuals apply for the position of human resources assistant. To fill this position, we hired a graduate of Texas Technical University who seemed to have the qualities we sought. We wanted to write you immediately to enable you to continue your job search. “After” Version - Document for Analysis 10.9

60 You have our best wishes in finding exactly the right position to match your background and education. Sincerely, You have our best wishes in finding exactly the right position to match your background and education. Sincerely, “After” Version - Document for Analysis 10.9 BACK

61 Practice for Negative Messages With your partner, rewrite this bad news memo to a subordinate

62 Subject: GUESS WHAT?? YOU ARE FIRED!! FROM: john, JOLLY, general manager Off Campus Pub to: Peerson, Michael Date: 4/11/01 With great pleasure and enthusiasm, I am informing you that effective immediately you are terminated as manager of food service for Off Campus Pub! You work skills are atrocious, and you might want to think about going back to college to earn your degree because you are not going to make it as a manager in the business world with your decrepit communication skills, putrid writing style, miserable attendance record and atrocious customer service skills. Not to mention that you lack any comprehension on how to run a bar.

63 By the way, you should have seen this coming. Customers have been constantly complaining about your unprofessional attitude, not to mention that three of your kitchen staff has left while you were in charge. I regret the day I gave you the promotion to manger. To show you that I am not such a bad guy after all, I want to offer you the opportunity to take another position with our company. I think your “ personality ” would be best suited as supervisor of security since all you know how to do is be rude and impatient with customers, you might as well be able to use your communication skills in a productive way. This change of position will also mean that you will take a pay cut from $20 an hour to $10 an hour, and there is nothing that you can do about it, so please don ’ t try and negotiate with me!! Also, we will be starting a tuition reimbursement plan for any employee

64 who wants to continue their education at California State University, Fullerton, so you might want to take advantage of this opportunity because God knows that you need all of the help you can get. So, do you still want to be a part of the friendly atmosphere at Off Campus Pub? By the way, you must inform me of your decision by tomorrow, April 22 nd, or I never want to hear from you again

65 Objective 2 Avoiding Causes of Legal Problems 3

66 Avoiding Three Causes of Legal Problems ① Abusive language  Defamation – use of any language that harms a person ’ s reputation  Libel – written defamation  Slander – spoken defamation To be actionable, abusive language must be false, damaging to a person's good name, and "published" (spoken within the presence of others or written).

67 Avoiding Three Causes of Legal Problems ② Careless language  Be certain that our words communicate only what we intend.  Avoid making statements that are potentially damaging or that could be misinterpreted.  Be careful about what documents you save. For example:  (Although we are honored at your interest in our company, we can ’ t give your group a tour of the plant operations as it would be too noisy and dangerous.)

68 Avoiding Three Causes of Legal Problems ③ The “good-guy” syndrome  Avoid making statements that ease your conscience or make you look good  Business communicators act as agents of the organization. Their views must reflect the organization's. For example: (I thought you were an excellent candidate, but we had to hire... ).

69 Checklist for Avoiding Three Causes of Legal Problems Business communicators act as agents of organizations. Their views must reflect those of their organizations. Use plain paper for your personal views or personal business. Avoid supplying information that could be misused. Don ’ t admit or imply responsibility without checking with legal counsel.

70 Objective 8 Presenting bad news in other cultures u Please finish this part by self-study

71 End


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