Presentation on theme: "Bad News Messages Choose the direct or indirect approach. The direct method puts the bad news first. Dear Joe: I regret to inform you that an unexpected."— Presentation transcript:
Bad News Messages Choose the direct or indirect approach. The direct method puts the bad news first. Dear Joe: I regret to inform you that an unexpected business engagement prevents me from speaking at next month’s Rotary Club. Use the direct method if you want to emphasize the bad news. If it’s a memo or form letter that you feel people will skim. If you find yourself locked in some sort of adversarial relationship in which you must be very clear about your position. Dear Sirs: This letter is to inform you that no one from this organization authorized the ordering or purchase of 700 Ginsu knives on May 8, 2000.
Use the indirect method when you want to soften the blow. When you want to refuse a request yet preserve a cordial relationship. For example, imagine you are refusing a request from the Residents’ Committee to park in a certain area. Consider the following rhetorical buffers: Agreement: “I agree with the Committee’s position that traffic jams occur during...” Appreciation: “Thank you for your input regarding...” Compliment: “The Committee’s excellent letter...” Facts: “Our parking lot has more than 50 unused spaces...” Policy: “Community bylaws prevent us from...” Good News: “In November, we will begin construction...” Understanding: “We know that it has been frustrating...” Bad News Messages
Make sure your buffer strategy is relevant to the situation and to previous communications. For example, imagine a scenario in which you had engaged in lengthy negotiations about an issue and then suddenly fell back on policy: “Our regulations expressly forbid the type of activity suggested in your June 8 letter.” Bad News Messages
Closing the letter: Make a counterproposal. Indicate that the continued relationship is valuable. Explain how can you be contacted and whether or not you expect a reply.
Complaint Letters Similarly, can be direct or indirect. Use the indirect approach when you lack a clear-cut legal claim (e.g., warranty ran out, gray area of partial satisfaction)
Complaint Letters In an indirect letter, consider: A warm opening: “We have enjoyed a long relationship with ABC company.” Including background information and description of the problem. Requesting specific response.