Bad news messages

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  • Bad news messages

    1. 1. Bad News Messages Session 10
    2. 2. BufferBuffer ReasonsReasons Bad NewsBad News CloseClose The Indirect Pattern
    3. 3. 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 • CLOSE – a personalizing, forward-looking, pleasant statement
    4. 4. 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).
    5. 5. 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 . . . ).
    6. 6. Examples of Bad News Messages Recommendation refusals Request refusals Adjustment refusals Credit refusals Order refusals
    7. 7. Learning Objectives • Analyze bad news messages to verify that they reflect the six Cs of effective messages, acceptable message formats, and the bad news strategy. • Prepare bad news messages by applying the CBO approach and the bad news strategy.
    8. 8. Apply the CBO Approach Plan a message. Identify the objective. Visualize the audience. Gather supporting information. Organize the information. Compose a draft. Choose words. Construct sentences. Assemble paragraphs. Choose paragraph locations. Complete a message. Proofread. Edit. Revise. Finalize.
    9. 9. Plan a Message Identify the objective. Maintain goodwill. Show a benefit or suggest an alternative. Visualize the audience. Know the receiver’s profile. Recognize the sensitivity of the situation. Anticipate the receiver’s reaction. Gather supporting information. Choose relevant facts. Know your receiver’s background. Organize the information. Use the indirect pattern. Apply the five-part bad news strategy.
    10. 10. Begin with a neutral or pleasant statement. Begin with a buffer. Choose words carefully. Avoid misleading the receiver. Explain the reason(s) for the referral. Explain why you cannot do what the receiver wants. Use the passive voice to avoid sounding accusatory. State or imply the refusal. State the refusal concisely. State what can be done rather than what cannot be done. Avoid negative words. Offer an alternative solution or action. Offer a constructive suggestion, substitute, counterproposal, or alternate course of action. Explain how the receiver may benefit. End with a positive, friendly statement. Conclude with a positive statement. Avoid trite expressions. Close with action required by the receiver. Compose a Draft
    11. 11. Complete a Message Proofread. Edit. Revise. Finalize.
    12. 12. Bad News Messages Requests Recommendations Adjustments Credits Orders
    13. 13. Bad News Strategy Follow the indirect pattern. Opening--Begin with neutral or pleasant statement. Explanation--Explain the reason(s) for the refusal. Message Objective--State or imply the refusal. Additional Information--Offer an alternate solution or action. Closing--End with a positive, friendly statement.
    14. 14. Techniques for First Paragraph • Begin with a buffer — something about which both sides can agree • Avoid empty acknowledgments of the obvious • Avoid tipping off the bad news too early • Avoid starting too positive so as to build false hopes
    15. 15. Techniques for Reasons and Explanation Section • Provide a smooth transition from the opening to the explanation • Precede the bad news with one or more reasons that are logical to the reader • Show reader benefit and/or consideration • Avoid using “company policy” as the reason
    16. 16. Techniques for Bad-News Sentence • Place negative news in buried position • Avoid unnecessary use of negative words • State the bad news once; avoid restating or returning to it • Emphasize any positive aspect • Follow bad news with a counterproposal when possible
    17. 17. Include a Counterproposal or “Silver Lining” Counterproposal (tangible or intangible): states what you can do or offer “Silver” lining: provides a thought that turns the discussion back into a positive direction OR
    18. 18. Techniques for Closing Paragraph • Convey an empathetic tone • Avoid returning to the bad news • Avoid trite, worn-out statements that seem shallow and superficial • End with a positive, forward- looking idea
    19. 19. Strategies for Strong Internal Communication • Convey bad news as soon as possible • Give employees a complete, rational explanation of the problem • Show empathy and respond to employees’ feelings • Follow up
    20. 20. The General Indirect Plan • Begin with a strategic buffer – Words that set up your strategy and – Acknowledge any preceding messages • Develop the strategy • Present the bad news positively • End with goodwill, specifically adapted.
    21. 21. Brief Review of a Procedure for a Refused Request • The news is bad. • The reader wants something; you must refuse. • Your goals are: – to say no, and – to maintain goodwill. • The first goal is easy; the second requires tact. • You must present reasons that will convince. Preliminary considerations:
    22. 22. Indirect Plan for Bad News • Begin with words that identify the subject, are neutral, and set up the message. • Present reasons using positive language and you-viewpoint. • Refuse clearly and positively, embedding where possible to de-emphasize the negative. • Include a counterproposal or compromise when appropriate. • End with an adapted goodwill comment. The message plan: Opening Body Closing
    23. 23. Mr. Bragg, Your study of the progress of State University graduates is most commendable. We are pleased that you would ask our help in your efforts. Larry_Bragg@callawaygolf.com In reviewing the requirements of your project, we find that it would be necessary to search through the personnel files of each of our 10,000 employees. As our regular staff is already working at capacity, may we suggest that we make our files available to you or your representatives? We ask only that you protect the confidentially of the information in the files. We would be pleased to give you working space in the records center. And we would assure you of the cooperation and assistance of our records personnel. As another alternative, may we suggest that you use a part-time student worker who is already acquainted with our files. From time to time, Ms. Mary Mahoney has worked in Request for alumni information
    24. 24. We expect that these suggestions will help you in completing your project. We look forward to reading the results in the Alumni Bulletin. Terry As another alternative, may we suggest that you use a part-time student worker who is already acquainted with our file system. From time to time, Ms. Mary Mahoney has worked in our file center. We estimate that she could do your work in about five weeks, working her customary twenty hours a week. The cost would be about $900. If you prefer this arrangement, we would be pleased to contact her for you. center. And we would assure you of the cooperation and assistance of our records personnel. Larry_Bragg@callawaygolf.com Request for alumni information
    25. 25. Preliminary Considerations in Writing Adjustment Refusals (1 of 2) • The decision has been made to refuse an unjustified claim. • The news is bad. • The goal is to present the bad news in a positive way. • Thus, you must think through the situation to develop a strategy to explain or justify the decision.
    26. 26. Brief Review of Procedure for Adjustment Refusals (2 of 2) • Begin with words that – are off subject, – are neutral, and – set up the message. • Present the strategy that will explain or justify. • Make it factual and positive. • Lead systematically to the refusal. • Then refuse--clearly and positively. • End with off-subject, friendly words. The message plan: Opening Body Closing
    27. 27. Mr. Mertz: Thank you for your check for $945.07 on Invoice C 2005. Although it is a small matter, I feel that you will want to look over this invoice. Probably you just looked at the wrong column, but you will see that you wrote the check for the amount less the discount. As you know, the discount is allowed only when payment is made within ten days of billing. As Invoice C2005 is now 45 days past this date, we are crediting your account with $945.07, leaving an unpaid balance of $29.23. I am confident you will understand. Working with you and your excellent organization, Mr. Mertz, is always a pleasure. We look forward to serving you again real soon. Ray Rojas Jason Mertz Payment on Invoice C2005
    28. 28. rjluce@uniquesupplies.com Special paneling concern We are grateful for the role we have played in constructing your distinctive building. We stand ready to meet your future needs to the letter. Dominic Terrado be between you and your architect. I am confident that you will see the justice in our decision.
    29. 29. Preliminary Considerations in Writing Credit Refusals (1 of 2) • Refusals of credit are very negative, tending to reflect on one’s personal qualities. • They should be handled tactfully – because it is the friendly way to do it, and – because it is profitable. • Begin by developing an explanation. – If finances are weak--can be fairly direct. – If morals are weak--should be tactful.
    30. 30. Brief Review of Procedure for Credit Refusals (2 of 2) • Begin with words that – are neutral, and – tie in with document being answered. – set up the strategy (explanation). • Present the explanation and/or justification. • As a logical follow-up--refuse tactfully. – If to a bad moral risk, may be by implication. – If to one with weak finances, • should refuse positively, and • look hopefully to the future. • Close with goodwill words that fit the one case and are friendly and forward-looking. The message plan: Opening Body Closing
    31. 31. Tact in a Credit Refusal (1 of 3) Dear Ms. Herrera: Your March 29 order and accompanying request for credit were genuinely appreciated. We are especially grateful for your pleasant frankness in presenting your request for credit. The statements, trade references, and explanations were most helpful. Opening Click to view full letter at once.
    32. 32. In checking over them, we find that you have an unusually heavy burden of invoices to pay within the next few months. As we see it, burdening you with more bills to pay at this time simply would not make good business sense. Thus, we can sell to you only for cash now. By buying for cash and taking advantage of the cash discount, you would be taking a sound step toward improving the financial health of your business. Just as soon as your situation is improved, we shall open your account. Body Tact in a Credit Refusal (2 of 3)
    33. 33. Begin with a pleasant or neutral statement that relates to the receiver. Give at least one reason for the refusal. Imply or state the refusal. Offer a helpful solution or suggestion. End positively without reference to the refusal. A request refusal is written when a business must refuse a request for contributions, use of facilities, preferential treatment, or special discounts. Request Refusals
    34. 34. Inform the person who made the request why you cannot provide a positive response. Provide only employment dates and omit references to poor performance or unsatisfactory evaluations. Prepare and transmit an unfavorable written recommendation using the bad news strategy. Recommendations Consider the following three options for providing poor recommendation messages:
    35. 35. Begin with a pleasant, relevant statement. Give a factual basis for the refusal. Imply or state an impersonal refusal. Include a resale statement and/or an offer to help. End pleasantly. When you cannot make the requested adjustment, follow the bad news strategy to write an adjustment refusal. Adjustment Refusals
    36. 36. Credit Refusals Begin with a pleasant, timely buffer. Give reasons for the refusal. Imply or state the refusal. Make a counterproposal. End with attention on the receiver’s benefits. A credit refusal for a loan, credit card, extended line of credit, or credit purchase should apply the bad news strategy.
    37. 37. Order Refusals Begin with a buffer. Ask for needed information for incomplete orders; give a reason for delayed and unfilled orders. State or imply the delay plan or the refusal. Offer a resale or an alternative solution. End with a positive statement. Write an order refusal message when you are unable to fulfill or ship an order in a timely manner.
    38. 38. Begin with a neutral or pleasant statement.  Begin with a buffer.  Choose words carefully.  Avoid misleading the receiver. Explain the reason(s) for the refusal.  Explain why you cannot do what the receiver wants.  Use the passive voice to avoid sounding accusatory. State or imply the refusal.  State the refusal concisely.  State what can be done rather than what cannot be done.  Avoid negative words. Offer an alternate solution or action.  Offer a constructive suggestion, a substitute, a counterproposal, or an alternate course of action.  Explain how the receiver may benefit. End with a positive, friendly statement.  Conclude with a positive statement.  Close with action required by the receiver.  Avoid trite expressions. Bad news applications follow the bad news strategy.
    39. 39. Recommendation Refusals • Open with a neutral statement that relates to the receiver. • Offer an explanation. • State or imply the unfavorable recommendation. • Offer an alternate solution or action if possible. • End with a positive statement.
    40. 40. Request Refusals Begin with a pleasant or neutral statement that relates to the receiver. Give at least one reason for the refusal. Imply or state the refusal. Offer a helpful solution or suggestion. End with a positive statement without reference to the refusal.
    41. 41. Adjustment Refusals Begin with a pleasant, relevant statement. Give a factual basis for the refusal. Imply or state an impersonal refusal. Include a resale statement and/or an offer to help. End pleasantly; emphasize receiver action when needed.
    42. 42. Order Refusals Begin with a buffer; the opening statement may identify the order by date, number, and description. Ask for needed information if the order was incomplete; give a reason for the refusal if the order will be delayed or will not be filled. State or imply the delay plan or the refusal. Offer a resale or an alternate solution. End with a positive statement.

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