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© 2010 Thomson South-Western Instructor Only Version CHAPTER 7 Negative Messages.

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Presentation on theme: "© 2010 Thomson South-Western Instructor Only Version CHAPTER 7 Negative Messages."— Presentation transcript:

1 © 2010 Thomson South-Western Instructor Only Version CHAPTER 7 Negative Messages

2 Chapter 7, Slide 2 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Goals in Communicating Bad News  Acceptance—strive to help receiver understand and accept the bad news.  Positive image—promote good image of yourself and your organization. Strive to reduce bad feelings. Convey fairness.  Message clarity—make the message so clear that no further correspondence is necessary.  Protection—avoid creating legal liability.

3 Chapter 7, Slide 3 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Preventing Legal Problems  Defamation—false published statement that harms an individual's reputation  Libel—written defamation  Slander—spoken defamation Examples: deadbeat, crook, quack Avoid abusive language.

4 Chapter 7, Slide 4 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Preventing Legal Problems Avoid potentially damaging or easily misinterpreted statements. Example: The factory floor is too dangerous for visitors on field trips. Avoid careless language.

5 Chapter 7, Slide 5 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Your business messages must represent the views of the organization.  Be careful about revealing company information, even in a personal blog. Remember that you represent your organization. Preventing Legal Problems

6 Chapter 7, Slide 6 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Disappointment  Irritation  Anger Common Reactions to Negative Information  Goods cannot be delivered as promised  Product failure  Credit refusal  Billing error

7 Chapter 7, Slide 7 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e You Can Usually Diminish Negative Feelings if  The reader knows the reasons for the rejection  The bad news is revealed with sensitivity  Disappointment  Irritation  Anger

8 Chapter 7, Slide 8 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e BufferReasons Bad News Closing The Indirect Strategy Using the indirect strategy to communicate bad news appeals to relationship-oriented writers who care about how a message will affect its receiver.

9 Chapter 7, Slide 9 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e BufferReasons Bad News Closing The Indirect Strategy The indirect strategy allows you to prepare the reader before delivering the bad news, thus softening the impact of the bad news.

10 Chapter 7, Slide 10 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Possible Buffers for Opening Bad-News Messages  Facts  Understanding  Apology Reasons Bad News Closing  Best news  Compliment  Appreciation  Agreement Buffer

11 Chapter 7, Slide 11 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Quick Check How effective are the following openings for a letter that refuses to grant credit? Reveals the bad news bluntly. Sounds phony and canned. Unfortunately, your application for credit has been reviewed negatively. We sincerely regret that we must deny your credit application. Evaluating Buffer Statements

12 Chapter 7, Slide 12 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Gives the wrong impression. We are delighted to receive your application for credit. The recent resurgence of interest in the stock market caught many of us by surprise. Is not relevant. How effective are the following openings for a letter that refuses to grant credit? Evaluating Buffer Statements

13 Chapter 7, Slide 13 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e How effective are the following openings for a letter that refuses a request for a donation? Fails to engage the reader. Compliments reader and implies approval. Your request for a monetary contribution has been referred to me for reply. We appreciate the fine work your organization is doing to provide early childhood programs that meet the needs of parents and very young children. Evaluating Buffer Statements

14 Chapter 7, Slide 14 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Presenting the Reasons  Be 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. Buffer Bad News ClosingReasons

15 Chapter 1, Slide 15 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Chapter 7, Slide 15 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e To reveal the bad news with sensitivity, apply the following techniques for Cushioning Bad News: BufferReasonsClosing Bad News

16 Chapter 1, Slide 16 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Chapter 7, Slide 16 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Use the passive voice. Use the passive voice. Suggest a compromise or an alternative. Suggest a compromise or an alternative. Imply the refusal. Imply the refusal. Be clear but not overly graphic. Be clear but not overly graphic. Place the bad news in a subordinate clause. Place the bad news in a subordinate clause. Use a long sentence. Use a long sentence. Avoid the spotlight. Avoid the spotlight. Techniques for Cushioning Bad News Techniques for Cushioning Bad News

17 Chapter 7, Slide 17 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Use a long sentence. Don’t put the bad news in a short, simple sentence.  Avoid the spotlight. Put the bad news in the middle of a paragraph halfway through the message. Cushioning the Bad News

18 Chapter 7, Slide 18 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Cushioning the Bad News  Place the bad news in a subordinate clause. Although we have no opening for an individual with your qualifications at this time, we are pleased that you thought of us when you started your job search.

19 Chapter 7, Slide 19 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Be clear but not overly graphic. Instead of this Our investigation reveals that you owe three creditors large sums and that you were fired from your last job. Try this Our investigation reveals that your employment status and your financial position are unstable at this time. Cushioning the Bad News

20 Chapter 7, Slide 20 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Imply the refusal. Instead of this We cannot contribute to your charity this year. Try this Although all our profits must be reinvested in our company this year, we hope to be able to support your future fund-raising activities. Cushioning the Bad News

21 Chapter 7, Slide 21 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Suggest a compromise or an alternative. Although the cashmere sweater cannot be sold at the erroneously listed price of $18, we can allow you to purchase this $218 item for only $118. Cushioning the Bad News

22 Chapter 7, Slide 22 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Cushioning the Bad News  Consider using passive voice verbs. Instead of this We cannot make a contribution at this time. Try this A contribution cannot be made at this time. Passive-voice verbs focus attention on actions rather than on personalities. They are useful in being tactful.

23 Chapter 7, Slide 23 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Active voice I cannot allow you to return the DVD player because.... Passive voice Return of the DVD player is not allowed because.... Ryan checked the report, but he missed the error. The report was checked, but the error was missed. Cushioning the Bad News  Consider using passive voice verbs.

24 Chapter 7, Slide 24 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Notice that passive-voice verb phrases always include “helper” verbs, such as is, are, was, were, being, or been. Examples of “helper” verbs forming passive voice:  The report was checked.  The schedule is being revised.  Invitations were sent. Cushioning the Bad News

25 Chapter 1, Slide 25 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Chapter 7, Slide 25 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Quick Check Convert the following statements from active to passive voice. A cash contribution cannot be made this year because of unusually high expenses. I am unable to make a cash contribution this year because of unusually high expenses. We cannot process your application this month. Your application cannot be processed this month.

26 Chapter 1, Slide 26 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Chapter 7, Slide 26 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Our products are sold only through franchised retailers. We sell our products only through franchised retailers. Mark made a programming error that delayed our project. A programming error was made that delayed our project. Convert the following statements from active to passive voice.

27 Chapter 7, Slide 27 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Closing Bad-News Messages Avoid endings that sound canned, insincere, inappropriate, or self-serving. Try to personalize the closing with BufferReasons Bad News Closing  Freebies  Resale or sales promotion  A forward look  An alternative to the refusal  Good wishes

28 Chapter 7, Slide 28 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Writing Plan for Refusing Routine Requests or Claims  Start 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. Reasons Bad News ClosingBuffer

29 Chapter 7, Slide 29 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Present valid reasons for the refusal, avoiding words that create a negative tone.  Include resale or sales promotion, if appropriate. Buffer Bad News ClosingReasons Writing Plan for Refusing Routine Requests or Claims

30 Chapter 7, Slide 30 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Soften the blow by positioning the bad news strategically, using the passive voice, accentuating the positive, or implying a refusal.  Suggest a compromise or substitute, if possible. BufferReasonsClosing Bad News Writing Plan for Refusing Routine Requests or Claims

31 Chapter 7, Slide 31 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Renew good feelings with a positive statement.  Look forward to continued business.  Avoid referring to the bad news. BufferReasons Bad News Closing Writing Plan for Refusing Routine Requests or Claims

32 Chapter 7, Slide 32 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Controlling Damage With Disappointed Customers  Call the individual involved.  Describe the problem and apologize.  Explain  Why the problem occurred  What you are doing to resolve the problem  How you will prevent the problem from happening again

33 Chapter 7, Slide 33 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Follow with a letter that  Documents details discussed in the phone call  Promotes goodwill Controlling Damage With Disappointed Customers

34 Chapter 7, Slide 34 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Refusing Credit Four goals in conveying credit refusals:  Avoiding language that causes hard feelings  Retaining customers on a cash basis  Preparing for possible future credit without raising false expectations  Avoiding disclosures that could cause a lawsuit

35 Chapter 7, Slide 35 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Delivering Bad News Personally  Gather all the information.  Prepare and rehearse.  Explain past, present, and future.  Consider taking a partner.  Think about timing.  Be patient with the reaction.

36 Chapter 7, Slide 36 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Writing Plan for Breaking Bad News to Employees  Open 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. Reasons Bad News ClosingBuffer

37 Chapter 7, Slide 37 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Writing Plan for Breaking Bad News to Employees  Explain the logic behind the bad news.  Provide a rational explanation using positive words and displaying empathy.  Try to show reader benefits, if possible. Buffer Bad News ClosingReasons

38 Chapter 7, Slide 38 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e Writing Plan for Breaking Bad News to Employees  Position the bad news so that it does not stand out.  Be positive but don’t sugarcoat it.  Use objective language. BufferReasonsClosing Bad News

39 Chapter 7, Slide 39 Mary Ellen Guffey, Essentials of Business Communication, 8e  Provide information about an alternative, if one exists.  If appropriate, describe what will happen next.  Look forward positively. BufferReasons Bad News Closing Writing Plan for Breaking Bad News to Employees

40 © 2010 Thomson South-Western Instructor Only Version END


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