Negative news




               Modified by G. Horne from:
Guffey, Rhodes, Rogin Business Communication: Process and Prod...
Goals in communicating
       negative news
• To make the reader understand and
  accept the negative news
• To promote an...
The indirect pattern

Buffer
Buffer
The indirect pattern

Buffer
Buffer


            Reasons
            Reasons
The indirect pattern

Buffer
Buffer


            Reasons
            Reasons


                      Bad News
           ...
The indirect pattern

Buffer
Buffer


            Reasons
            Reasons


                      Bad News
           ...
The indirect pattern
• Buffer – a neutral or positive opening
  that does not reveal the bad news
• Reasons – an explanati...
The indirect pattern
• Close – a personalizing, forward-
  looking, pleasant statement
Avoiding three causes of
     legal problems
Avoiding three causes of
       legal problems
1. Abusive language
  Defamation – use of any language that harms a
  perso...
Avoiding three causes of
      legal problems
3. “Good-guy” syndrome
  Statements that ease your conscience or make
  you ...
Acting cautiously
• As an agent of an organization, be
  sure your views reflect those of your
  organization.
• Avoid sup...
Refusing routine requests
Buffer
• Pay a compliment, show appreciation
  for past action, or refer to something
  mutually understood.
• Avoid raisi...
Reasons
• Explain why the request must be
  denied, without revealing the refusal.
• Avoid negativity (unfortunately,
  im...
Negative news
• Moderate the negative news by
 (1) subordinating it (although we
 can’t loan our equipment, we wish
 you w...
Negative news
• Consider implying the refusal, but be
  certain it is clear.
• Suggest an alternative, if one exists.
Close
• Supply more information about an
  alternative, if one is offered.
• Look forward to future relations.
• Offer goo...
Sending negative news
    to customers
Buffer
• Express appreciation for the
  customer’s patronage or for his or
  her writing.
• Show agreement on some point,
...
Reasons
• Justify the bad news with objective
  reasons (except in credit denials).
• Use resale, if appropriate, to resto...
Bad news
• State the bad news objectively or
  imply it.
• Use resale or sales promotion only if
  you think doing so will...
Close
• Suggest an action or an alternative.
• Look forward to future business,
  offer best wishes, refer to gifts.
• Don...
Managing negative
organization news
Buffer
• Provide some good news (if
  possible), praise, appreciation,
  agreement, or understanding.
• Discuss facts lead...
Reasons
• Explain what caused the decision
  necessitating the bad news.
• Use objective, nonjudgmental, and
  nondiscrimi...
Negative news
• Explain the bad news clearly, but
  don’t accentuate it.
• Avoid negative language.
Close
• End on a positive, friendly note.
• For job refusals, extend good
  wishes.
Ineffective customer
   request refusal
       “before” version
Customer request refusal: “before” version


Dear Mr. Waters:
 Dear Mr. Waters:
Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to appl...
Critical thinking questions
1. What is the purpose of the letter? What goals should
   the sender have?
2. What prevents t...
Customer request refusal: “before” version

 Dear Mr. Waters:
  Dear Mr. Waters:
 Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to ap...
Customer request refusal: “before” version

 Dear Mr. Waters:
  Dear Mr. Waters:
 Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to ap...
Customer request refusal: “before” version

 Dear Mr. Waters:
  Dear Mr. Waters:
 Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to ap...
Customer request refusal: “before” version

 Dear Mr. Waters:
  Dear Mr. Waters:
 Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to ap...
Customer request refusal: “before” version

 Dear Mr. Waters:
  Dear Mr. Waters:
 Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to ap...
Customer request refusal: “before” version

 Dear Mr. Waters:
  Dear Mr. Waters:
 Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to ap...
Improved customer
 request refusal
      “after” version
Customer request refusal: “after” version


Dear Mr. Waters:
Dear Mr. Waters:
We’re happy to learn that you are enjoying t...
Customer request refusal: “after” version


that are within your price range. The Sako 400 delivers the
 that are within y...
Negative News Assignment (in-class)                                  worth 2 percent

You work for the Megablock Corporati...
End
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Business Communication: Process and Product, 4e

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Business Communication: Process and Product, 4e

  1. 1. Negative news Modified by G. Horne from: Guffey, Rhodes, Rogin Business Communication: Process and Product, Fourth Canadian Edition Copyright © 2005 by Nelson, a division of Thomson Canada Limited
  2. 2. Goals in communicating negative news • To make the reader understand and accept the negative news • To promote and maintain a good image of the writer and the writer’s organization • To make the message so clear that additional correspondence is unnecessary • To avoid legal liability
  3. 3. The indirect pattern Buffer Buffer
  4. 4. The indirect pattern Buffer Buffer Reasons Reasons
  5. 5. The indirect pattern Buffer Buffer Reasons Reasons Bad News Bad News
  6. 6. The indirect pattern Buffer Buffer Reasons Reasons Bad News Bad News Close Close
  7. 7. The indirect pattern • Buffer – a neutral or positive opening that does not reveal the bad news • Reasons – an explanation of the causes for the bad news • Bad news – a clear but understated announcement of the bad news that may include an alternative or compromise
  8. 8. The indirect pattern • Close – a personalizing, forward- looking, pleasant statement
  9. 9. Avoiding three causes of legal problems
  10. 10. 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 2. Careless language Statements that are potentially damaging or that could be misinterpreted (the factory is too hazardous for tour groups).
  11. 11. Avoiding three causes of legal problems 3. “Good-guy” syndrome Statements that ease your conscience or make you look good (I thought you were an excellent candidate, but we had to hire . . . ).
  12. 12. Acting cautiously • As an agent of an organization, be sure your views reflect those of your organization. • Avoid supplying information that could be misused. • Don’t admit or imply responsibility without checking with legal counsel.
  13. 13. Refusing routine requests
  14. 14. Buffer • Pay a compliment, show appreciation for past action, or refer to something mutually understood. • Avoid raising false hopes. • Avoid thanking the receiver for something you are about to refuse.
  15. 15. Reasons • Explain why the request must be denied, without revealing the refusal. • Avoid negativity (unfortunately, impossible). • Show how your decision benefits the receiver or others, if possible.
  16. 16. Negative news • Moderate the negative news by (1) subordinating it (although we can’t loan our equipment, we wish you well in . . .). (2) using the passive voice (office equipment can’t be loaned, but . . .). (3) embedding it in a long sentence or paragraph.
  17. 17. Negative news • Consider implying the refusal, but be certain it is clear. • Suggest an alternative, if one exists.
  18. 18. Close • Supply more information about an alternative, if one is offered. • Look forward to future relations. • Offer good wishes and compliments. • Avoid referring to the refusal.
  19. 19. Sending negative news to customers
  20. 20. Buffer • Express appreciation for the customer’s patronage or for his or her writing. • Show agreement on some point, review the facts, or show understanding.
  21. 21. Reasons • Justify the bad news with objective reasons (except in credit denials). • Use resale, if appropriate, to restore the customer’s confidence. • Avoid blaming the customer or hiding behind company policy. • Look for reader benefits.
  22. 22. Bad news • State the bad news objectively or imply it. • Use resale or sales promotion only if you think doing so will not be offensive.
  23. 23. Close • Suggest an action or an alternative. • Look forward to future business, offer best wishes, refer to gifts. • Don’t mention the bad news.
  24. 24. Managing negative organization news
  25. 25. Buffer • Provide some good news (if possible), praise, appreciation, agreement, or understanding. • Discuss facts leading to the reasons section.
  26. 26. Reasons • Explain what caused the decision necessitating the bad news. • Use objective, nonjudgmental, and nondiscriminatory language. • Show empathy and fairness.
  27. 27. Negative news • Explain the bad news clearly, but don’t accentuate it. • Avoid negative language.
  28. 28. Close • End on a positive, friendly note. • For job refusals, extend good wishes.
  29. 29. Ineffective customer request refusal “before” version
  30. 30. Customer request refusal: “before” version Dear Mr. Waters: Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve been making for the past ten months payments you’ve been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility and reliability. Waters, and you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model – one Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model – one that’s more within your price range. Do give us aacall. that’s more within your price range. Do give us call. Sincerely, Sincerely,
  31. 31. Critical thinking questions 1. What is the purpose of the 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? 5. How could the bad news be subordinated? 6. What friendly news could be used in the closing?
  32. 32. Customer request refusal: “before” version Dear Mr. Waters: Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve 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 been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. such as yours. You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model ––one that’s more within your price range. you in another Sako model one that’s more within your price range. Do give us aacall. Do give us call. Sincerely, Sincerely, What is the purpose of the letter? What goals should the sender have?
  33. 33. Customer request refusal: “before” version Dear Mr. Waters: Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve 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 been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. such as yours. You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model ––one that’s more within your price range. you in another Sako model one that’s more within your price range. Do give us aacall. Do give us call. Sincerely, Sincerely, What prevents this letter from achieving those goals?
  34. 34. Customer request refusal: “before” version Dear Mr. Waters: Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve 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 been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. such as yours. You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model ––one that’s more within your price range. you in another Sako model one that’s more within your price range. Do give us aacall. Do give us call. Sincerely, Sincerely, What pattern of development would work best for this letter? Has it been followed?
  35. 35. Customer request refusal: “before” version Dear Mr. Waters: Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve 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 been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. such as yours. You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model ––one that’s more within your price range. you in another Sako model one that’s more within your price range. Do give us aacall. Do give us call. Sincerely, Sincerely, How could the bad news be subordinated?
  36. 36. Customer request refusal: “before” version Dear Mr. Waters: Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve 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 been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. such as yours. You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model ––one that’s more within your price range. you in another Sako model one that’s more within your price range. Do give us aacall. Do give us call. Sincerely, Sincerely, What idea could be used as a buffer to open an improved version of this letter?
  37. 37. Customer request refusal: “before” version Dear Mr. Waters: Dear Mr. Waters: Unfortunately, we cannot allow you to apply the lease payments you’ve 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 been making for the past ten months toward the purchase of your Sako 600 copier. 600 copier. Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever Company policy does not allow such conversion. Have you ever wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? wondered why we can offer such low leasing and purchase prices? Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals Obviously, we couldn’t stay in business long if we agreed to proposals such as yours. such as yours. You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and You’ve had the Sako 600 copier for ten months now, Mr. Waters, and you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you say you like its versatility and reliability. Perhaps we could interest you in another Sako model ––one that’s more within your price range. you in another Sako model one that’s more within your price range. Do give us aacall. Do give us call. Sincerely, Sincerely, What friendly news could be used in the closing?
  38. 38. Improved customer request refusal “after” version
  39. 39. Customer request refusal: “after” version Dear Mr. Waters: Dear Mr. Waters: We’re happy to learn that you are enjoying the use of the We’re happy to learn that you are enjoying the use of the Sako copier you’ve been leasing for the past ten months. Sako copier you’ve been leasing for the past ten months. Like our many other customers, you have discovered that Like our many other customers, you have discovered that Sako copiers offer remarkable versatility and reliability. Sako copiers offer remarkable versatility and reliability. One of the reasons we’re able to offer these outstanding One of the reasons we’re able to offer these outstanding copiers at such low leasing rates and equally low purchase copiers at such low leasing rates and equally low purchase prices is that we maintain aaslim profit margin. If our prices is that we maintain slim profit margin. If our program included aaprovision for applying lease payments program included provision for applying lease payments toward the purchase price, our overall prices would have to toward the purchase price, our overall prices would have to be higher. Although lease payments cannot be credited be higher. Although lease payments cannot be credited toward purchase price, we can offer you other Sako models toward purchase price, we can offer you other Sako models
  40. 40. Customer request refusal: “after” version that are within your price range. The Sako 400 delivers the that are within your price range. The Sako 400 delivers the same reliability with nearly as many features as the Sako same reliability with nearly as many features as the Sako 600. 600. Please let us demonstrate the Sako 400 to your staff in your Please let us demonstrate the Sako 400 to your staff in your office, Mr. Waters. Our representative, Tracy Wilson, will office, Mr. Waters. Our representative, Tracy Wilson, will call you soon to arrange aatime. call you soon to arrange time. Sincerely, Sincerely,
  41. 41. Negative News Assignment (in-class) worth 2 percent You work for the Megablock Corporation, which owns the Bigbuck Centre, a large office building in downtown Vancouver. You have been assigned by your supervisors to inform TidySweep, a building cleaning contractor, that they have been unsuccessful in their bid for a contract to do the building cleaning for a three year period starting in two months from today. There was a competition between six cleaning contractors, and TidySweep lost out to Cleanco, a large company based in Toronto. All contractors followed the RFP (Request for Proposals) format that you provided. Criteria set out in the RFP were the basis for evaluating proposals. There are complications: 1) The competition was not solely based upon cost; reputation had something to do with the decision. Also, the management board had their favorite. Their choice was not necessarily the best or the most qualified company. 2) TidySweep is a small local Vancouver company, which is owned by Fred Whimper, the son-in-law of Mr. Megablock, who owns the Megablock Corporation. Mr. Megablock does not know of the decision to award the cleaning contract, but told his managers that he would not interfere with their decisions. Your job is to write a letter informing Mr. Whimper of the decision made by the management board. Your letter should reflect the principles we discussed regarding negative news letters. __________________________________________________________________ 1. Should you use a direct or indirect approach in delivering this bad news? Why? Explain. 2. Write the letter’s introduction 3. On the back of this page, write the body and conclusion.
  42. 42. End
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