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Flashcards in Chapter 11 Deck (21):

Negative messages have five main goals

Give bad news
Ensure acceptance of the bad news
Maintain the readers goodwill
Maintain the organizations good image
Minimize or eliminate future correspondence on the matter, as appropriate


Direct approach

Opens with bad news, proceeds to the reasons for the situation or the decision, and ends with a positive statement and at maintaining a good relationship with the audience.


Indirect approach

Opens with the reasons behind the bad news before presenting the bad news itself.


How to decide which approach to take (direct or indirect)

Do you need to get the readers attention immediately?
Does the recipient prefer a direct style of communication?
How important is this news to the reader?
Will the bad news come as a shock?



Neutral, noncontroversial statement that establishes common ground with the reader


When delivering bad news, present logical well-written reasons

Unapologetic if not at fault positive


To handle bad news carefully

Deemphasize bad news visually and grammatically
Use a conditional statement, if appropriate
Tell what you did do, not what you didn’t do


A positive close

Builds goodwill
Offers a suggestion for action
Provides a look toward the future


Whatever conclusion you use, follow these guidelines

Avoid uncertain conclusions
Manage future correspondence
Express optimism, if appropriate
Be sincere



Expressing concerns internally through company ethic hotlines-or externally through social media or the news media if they perceive no other options


When developing routine negative messages

Manage your time carefully; focus on the most important relationships and requests

If matter is closed, don’t imply it’s open by using phrases delaying saying no

Offer alternative ideas if you can, especially if the relationship is important

Don’t imply other help or info is available if it isn’t


3 Goals of sending messages

Modify the customers expectations
Explain how you plan to resolve the situation
Repair what damages night have been done to the business relationship


When refusing a claim

Demonstrate your understanding of the complaint
Explain your refusal
Suggest alternative action


To avoid being accused of defamation

Avoid any kind of abusive language that could be considered defamatory
Provide accurate information and stick to the facts
Never let anger or malice motivate your message
Ask company’s legal advisers whenever you think a message might have legal consequences
Communicate honestly and be true
Emphasize a good relationship in the future


When making negative announcements, follow these guidelines

Match your approach to the situation
Consider the needs of each group
Gives each audience enough time to react as needed
Give yourself enough time to plan and manage a response
Look for positive angles. But don’t exude false optimism
Seek expert advice If you’re not sure


When responding to rumors and countering negative information

Engage early, engage often
Monitor the conversation
Evaluate negative messages
Respond appropriately


Crisis management plan

Defining operational procedures to deal with the crisis
Outlines communication tasks and responsibilities
Plan should communicate who is authorized to speak for the company, contact info did all key executives, list of news outlets and social media tools used to disseminate information


When sending a rejection message for job applications

Personalize the email message or letter by using recipients name
Open with expression of appreciation for having applied
Convey negative news politely and concisely
Avoid explaining why applicant was rejected or others were chosen
Don’t imply application will be reviewed at a later date
Close with positive wishes for applicants career success


Performance reviews

Clarify job requirements, give employees feedback on performance relative to requirements and form plan of action to ensure performance in future


If you need to write a review that includes negative info

Document performance problems
Evaluate all employees consistently
Write in calm objective voice
Focus on opportunities for improvement
Keep job descriptions up to date


Guidelines in writing termination messages

Present reasons for difficult action (performance based or business decision)
Reasons presented in way that cannot be constructed as discriminatory
Follow company policy, contractual requirements, and applicable laws
Avoid personal attacks or insults
Ask another manager to review letter that’s objective
Deliver termination letter in person if possible that is private and free of interruption