Type
Solution Manual
Book Title
Business Communication: Building Critical Skills 6th Edition
ISBN 13
978-0073403267

978-0073403267 Chapter 11 Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises

April 6, 2019
Module 11 - Negative Messages
Module 11
Negative Messages
LO 11-1 Create subject lines for negative messages.
LO 11-2 Apply strategies for informative and positive message organization.
LO 11-3 Assess legal implications with messages, especially negative ones.
LO 11-4 Identify situations for buffer use.
LO 11-5 List common kinds of negative messages.
LO 11-6 Apply strategies for negative message analysis with PAIBOC.
Module Overview
Messages designed to convey negative information are called appropriately enough negative
messages. While other messages may contain bad news, negative messages are distinct because
their primary purpose is to convey negative information. As PP 11-4 shows, common negative
messages are
Rejections and refusals.
Announcements of policy changes.
Requests that the reader will find insulting or intrusive.
Negative performance appraisals.
Product recalls
As shown on PP 11-5 primary purposes include
To give the reader the bad news.
To have the reader read, understand, and accept the message.
To maintain as much goodwill as possible.
and secondary purposes (PP 11-6) include
To build a good image of the writer.
To build a good image of the writers organization.
To reduce or eliminate future correspondence on the same
subject.
and regardless of the news, we want readers to feel that
They have been taken seriously.
Our decision is fair and reasonable.
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
11-1
Module 11 - Negative Messages
If they were in our shoes, they would make the same decision.
Teaching Tip: We sometimes hear criticism that contemporary media and society in
general are too negative. Do students agree? What criteria might people be using to
decide? Do students want to live in a negative society? What might this suggest
about negatives in business?
In-Class Exercise: Ask students to bring in examples of common negative messages
they have received (blocking out any personal information). These can include
credit card rejections, product recalls, scholarship denials, or bureaucratic requests
for information that seem intrusive. Have students critique each message for
language and content. Which are successful? Which are not? How do students feel
about the individual or organization that sent the message?
What’s in This Supplement
This supplement is organized around the major questions posed in Module 11. It covers
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises Page 164
Part 2: Answers to Textbook Assignments Page 181
Part 3: Appendix of Handout/Transparency Master Page 186
PowerPoint presentations can be found at our Web page at www.mhhe.com/bcs6e.
Questions (with answers) suitable for quizzes are in the Instructors Test Bank. For student
practice quizzes with answers, see our Web page.
Part 1: Key Lecture Points, Teaching Tips, and In-Class Exercises
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
11-2
Module 11 - Negative Messages
What’s the best subject line for a negative message? LO 11-1
Only use negative subject lines if you think the reader may otherwise ignore the message.
For superiors, a negative subject line should focus on solving the
problem. For peers and subordinates, the topic of the message—but
no indication of action—should be in the subject line (PP 11-7).
In-Class Exercise: For 10-15 minutes, have students
brainstorm possible subject lines for the following topic:
You’re a manager and you’ve overspent your annual
budget for overtime work, even though there are four months left in the year. Have
students write subject lines both to superiors and to their employees.
How should I organize negative messages? LO 11-2
It depends on your purposes and audiences.
No one pattern for negative messages will work in all situations. As
PP 11-8 and PP 11-9 describe, a general pattern that works for giving
bad news to customers and other people outside the organization is
1. Give the reason for the refusal before the refusal itself when
you have a reason that readers will understand and accept.
2. Give the negative just once, clearly.
3. Present an alternative or compromise, if one is available.
4. End with a positive, forward-looking statement.
Teaching Tip: Ask students if they believe the tone of a
negative message to internal audiences should be different
than to people inside the organization. Why or why not?
What is different about internal versus external audiences?
What tone do students expect as customers that is different than they do as
employees?
Figure 11.2 (p. 167) shows an example of the pattern in use.
The module gives considerable detail on each of the points in the pattern. In particular, make
sure students note the following.
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
11-3
Module 11 - Negative Messages
Reasons: The reason(s) for the refusal must be clear and convincing. Writers should never hide
behind “company policy.” Avoid saying you cannot do anything—most refusals are the result of
choices, not impossibilities.
Teaching Tip: Ask students how they feel when they are refused something but not
given a reason. If a good reason had been offered, would they have felt differently?
How do they feel when they’re told, “Those are simply the rules.”?
Refusals: Deemphasize the refusal by putting it in the same paragraph as the reason(s). Writers
may be able to imply the refusal, but the language must still be clear.
Alternatives: Give them if they are available. An alternative or
compromise
Offers the reader another way to get what he or she wants.
Suggests that the writer really cares about the reader.
Enables the reader to reestablish psychological freedom.
Allows you to end on a positive note.
Teaching Tip: Ask students if they believe alternatives are always available. If not, is
it ethical to suggest alternatives to readers that either won’t work or are impossible to
deliver? Use PP 11-12 to help students consider alternatives.
An effective alternative can help readers avoid psychological reactance—a reaction on the part
of the reader that could cause them to avoid future purchases or purposefully do a poor job.
Endings: The best endings look to the future and use you-attitude.
As described PP 11-15 describes, a general pattern that works for
giving bad news to superiors is
1. Tell how it happened.
2. Describe the options for fixing it.
3. Recommend a solution and ask for action.
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
11-4
Module 11 - Negative Messages
PP 11-17 also describes the pattern for giving bad news to peers and
subordinates
1. Describe the problem.
2. Present an alternative or compromise, if one is available.
3. If possible, ask for input or action.
The audience’s reaction to bad news (as illustrated on PP 11-19 and
PP 11-20) is influenced by the following factors
Do you and the reader have a good relationship?
Does the organization treat people well?
Have readers been warned of possible negatives?
Have readers “bought into” the criteria for the decision?
Do communications after the negative build goodwill?
Thinking about the legal implications of what
you say LO 11-3
We hear of legal challenges in the business world daily. In some cases, the claims appear to have
merit, but others sometimes cause us to bemoan the litigious nature of our society. Students
should be aware of the realities, especially those who’ve grown up with an “anything goes” sense
of the nature of communication.
As this BCS box explains, any message that is recorded can be subpoenaed in a legal case.
Moreover, systems can be illegally entered, meaning that messages the writer thought were
protected could become public knowledge. It is therefore wise for business professionals to be
conscious of the legal implications of what they communicate.
As PP 11-14 shows, writers should be aware that
Any message that is recorded can be subpoenaed in a legal case.
Negative Internet posts have met with legal challenges.
Think about how a reasonable person might interpret
your words.
If that interpretation isn’t what you mean, revise the
passage so that it says what you mean.
In general, using reasonable safeguards will help writers to avoid legal problems, but when in
doubt, they should consult experts.
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
11-5
Module 11 - Negative Messages
When should I consider using a buffer? LO 11-4
When the reader values harmony or when the buffer also serves another purpose.
When direct patterns seem too blunt, writers can consider using a
buffer. As the name implies, buffers act as a barrier or cushion to the
bad news (PP 11-22). They are neutral or positive statements that
allow the writer to delay the negative.
Because some current research suggests buffers may in fact not work,
writers should consider audience when deciding on using a buffer. If
the audience expects or appreciates a buffer, using one makes sense.
Five types of buffers are common (illustrated on PP 11-23)
1. Start with any good news or positive elements the letter
contains.
2. State a fact or provide a chronology of events.
3. Refer to enclosures in the letter.
4. Thank the reader for something he or she has done.
5. State a general principle.
Teaching Tip: Use buffered medication—medication with a coating designed to
prevent irritation—and the buffer (neutral) zone in football as examples to help
students envision how a buffer acts to protect the readers feelings in a negative
message.
What are the most common kinds of negative messages? LO 11-5
Rejections and refusals, disciplinary notices and negative performance appraisals, and
layoffs and firings.
PP 11-24 describes three of the more difficult kinds of negative
messages to write:
Rejections and Refusals: When writing to people outside the
organization, try to use a buffer. Give an alternative if one is
available. Politeness and length will help. When you are writing
internally, use your knowledge of the individual and organization
to craft your message.
Disciplinary Notices and Negative Performance Appraisals: Present these directly,
with no buffer. Cite quantifiable observations of the employee’s behavior. If an
employee is disciplined by being laid off without pay, specify when the employee is to
return.
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
11-6
Module 11 - Negative Messages
Layoffs and Firings: Use a written message to accompany an oral one. The written
statement should start either with the reason or with the decision itself. Don’t use a
buffer. In layoff situations, communicate the organization’s situation long before the
actual layoff. Before firing someone, double-check the facts. Give the employee the real
reason for the firing.
In-Class Exercise: Have students form groups (of 3-5, depending on your class
size). Let each group explain one of the issues involved with writing each of three
kinds of negative messages described in this module.
Appendix 11-A shows a checklist for writing negative messages.
How can I apply what I’ve learned in this module? LO 11-6
Plan your activities and answer the PAIBOC questions.
PAIBOC can help students to create solutions. For more information on PAIBOC, review
Module 1 (PP 1-21 and PP 1-22 list the PAIBOC components).
The problem illustrated in this section is an excellent tool to help students see a “real world”
application of negative message principles. Take students through each step of the process,
especially the analysis of the problem.
In-Class Exercise: No single solution is likely to appeal to everyone. Have student
analyze the suggested solution here. Is there anything they would do differently? If
so, why? Make sure students analyze carefully suggestions for alternate courses of
action—a solution that seems useful on the surface may see less appropriate upon
further examination. Where possible, use PAIBOC as a framework for analysis and
the checklist on p. 180 to review qualities of a good negative message.
In-Class Exercise: Have students form groups (of 3-5, depending on your class size).
Let each group explain one of the PAIBOC components and how it helps with the
analysis of the problem.
Last Word: Negative messages can be among the harder business communication
documents to write. As such, these messages often require students to have a good
sense of business writing fundamentals. Let students see how basic principles of
language choice, building goodwill, and audience analysis help in composing
negative messages. Contrast these principles to those of informative and positive
messages. What can students learn from the contrast?
© 2014 by McGraw-Hill Education. This is proprietary material solely for authorized instructor use. Not authorized for sale or distribution in any
manner. This document may not be copied, scanned, duplicated, forwarded, distributed, or posted on a website, in whole or part.
11-7

Subscribe Now

Sign up to view full document

View Document