When presenting bad news you need to help the reader understand that your unfavorable decision is based on a business judgment, not a personal one.
You can help establish the right tone in a bad-news message by making liberal use of the "you" attitude.
When using the indirect plan for a bad-news message, you present the reasons for your decision before revealing the bad news itself.
You use a buffer to make the reader think that good news will follow.
You can start off the buffer to a bad-news message with the bad news itself as long as you state it reasonably.
It's best to avoid using a know-it-all tone in a bad-news message.
A good buffer begins with an apology.
The buffer for a bad-news message is long and drawn out so that the bad news can be put off as possible.
When presenting bad news, it is important to say why you have reached the decision before you say what the decision is.
Even when you are presenting bad news, you try to explain how your decision will ultimately benefit the reader.
It is a good idea to use "company policy" as a cushion when presenting reasons for bad news.
Words that should not appear in a bad-news letter include unfortunately, regret, and inconvenience, because they're negative and counterproductive.
Sometimes the "you" attitude is best observed by avoiding the word you.
When turning down someone for a job, it is best to come right out and say, "You do not meet our requirements."
You do not go into the specific reasons for bad news if those reasons are confidential, excessively complicated, or purely negative.
A good way to make bad news less painful is to
maximize the space devoted to it.
say, "I trust our decision is satisfactory."
avoid stating it and hope that the reader understands what you mean.
de-emphasize it by burying it in the middle of a sentence or paragraph.
When rejecting a job applicant,you can soften the blow by
focusing on the positive and only implying the bad news.
mentioning the qualifications of the person who was hired.
telling the applicant how many others he or she was competing against.
apologizing for wasting the person's time.
When delivering bad news, wording such as "We must turn down," "Much as I would like to," and "We cannot afford to"
softens the blow by drawing attention away form reader and onto the sender.
will impress the reader as being straightforward and forceful.
Is likely to cause pain and anger in the reader.
In the closing of a bad-news message, you
encourage the person to write or call to discuss the situation further.
build goodwill by ending on a positive note.
ask for feedback on whether the decision is acceptable to the reader.
express concern over possibly losing the reader's business.
Use the direct plan with a bad-news message if
the message will have a great deal of personal impact on your audience.
you want to make your point emphatically.
an order is unfillable or portions of it must be back-ordered.
you are refusing to make an adjustment on a claim.
When you use the direct plan for a bad-news message, you
still need to include a buffer.
have more room to discuss pertinent details.
can get right to the point.
can expect your audience to be offended.
Use the direct plan for a bad-news message to present and image of
firmness and strength.
caring and concern.
When notifying a customer that you can send only part of and order, the buffer
gives the reason for the delay on the balance of the order.
states the approximate period the customer will have to wait for a decision.
contains the good news that part of the order is on it's way.
does all of the above.
If your reader is unlikely to be deeply disappointed by your negative message, you could use
a lengthy buffer.
a brief buffer.
a humorous tone.
a direct approach that omits the buffer.
In general, when you must decline a request, you should
always use the direct plan.
take the time to make your wording, tone, and format acceptable to readers.
cite company policy as an explanation of your refusal.
not offer future assistance, unless there is a potential sale involved.
When you are refusing and invitation or a request, you
always use the indirect approach.
always us the direct approach.
consider your relationship with the reader.
use the direct approach when your denial is likely to disappoint the reader.
A woman returns a formal dress to your store. It is soilded and has a rip at the hem line, but she says she is returning it unworn because it doesn't fit. How do you inform her of your refusal to give her a refund?
State that company policy prevents you form accepting the return but that if you had anything to say about it you'd take it back, no question asked.
Restate her complaint to let her know you understand it, explain as positively as possible that you are unable to accept the return of damaged merchandise,and recommend a seamstress who can fix the tear and alter the dress for her.
Challenge the woman to try on the dress and prove that it doesn't fit.
Use humor to soften the blow of your refusal.
To avoid being accused of defamation when you refuse an adjustment,
make all refusals by phone instead of in writing.
explain why you are making the refusal.
consult your company's legal department or an attorney if you think a message might have legal consequences.
all of the above.
When you must deny an application for credits, you should
offer hope for a more favorable outcome in the future, if the applicant's record warrants it.
never imply the possibility of a more favorable outcome in the future.
never state explicit reasons for your decision.
also be wary of the applicant's cash business.
When giving your reasons for denying business credit, you point out
that your company can't afford to take on bad risks.
the benefits of continued dealings on a cash basis untill the firm reestablishes its creditworthiness.
that it's not your fault that the credit was denied.