Writing Negative Messages

  • Goals of negative messages :
    • Give the bad news
    • Ensure its acceptance
    • Maintain reader’s goodwill
    • Maintain organization’s good image
    • Reduce future correspondence on the matter

Using 3 Steps of Writing Process for Negative Messages

  • Planning :
    • Clear purpose
    • Information the audience need to know & accept
    • Select the right medium
    • Organize particularly
  • Writing :
    • Clear & sensitive
    • Use language that conveys respect
    • Avoid accusing tone
    • Use positive words
  • Completing :
    • Revise the content
    • Make sure everything is clear, complete & concise
    • Proofread to eliminate mistakes
    • Deliver promptly

Developing Negative Messages

  • Relevant questions in deciding whether to use direct or indirect approach
    • Will the bad news come as a shock?
    • Does the reader prefer short messages?
    • How important is the news to the reader?
    • Do you need to maintain a close working relationship with the reader?
    • Do you need to get the reader’s attention?
    • What is your organization’s preferred style
  • Using the direct approach effectively (when information have minimal personal impact)
    • Open with a clear statement of the bad news
    • Provide reasons & additional information
    • Close with a positive & respectful manner
  • Using the indirect approach effectively
    • Open with a buffer
    • Provide reasons & additional information
      • Detailed
      • Polite
      • Individualized
      • Unapologetic
      • Positive
    • Continue with a clear statement of the bad news
    • Positive close
      • Builds goodwill
      • Offers a suggestion for action
      • Provides a look toward the future

Exploring Common Examples of Negative Messages

  • Sending negative messages on routine business matters
    • Refusing routine request
    • Bad news about transactions
    • Refusing claims & request for adjustment
  • Sending negative employment messages
    • Refusing request for recommendation letters
    • Rejecting job applications
    • Giving negative performance reviews
    • Terminating employment
  • Sending negative organizational news
    • News of negative changes (ex : losing major contract)
    • Announcement of workforce reductions
    • Workplace accident

One thought on “Writing Negative Messages

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