Business CommunicationMGMT 355 Pre-examination Review Two
Business CommunicationChapter 6 Delivering Good and Neutral Messages
Good and Neutral NewsWritten, Electronic or Verbal • Direct (deductive) approach: > Opening states main idea > Body provides detailed explanation > Closing summarizes and includes a future-oriented thought • Advantages: > emphasizes main idea with position > easy to grasp quickly > saves time
Thank-you Notes • Make it short, specific, and thoughtful. Example I was pleasantly surprised to receive a certificate to your online music site in return for conducting your strategic planning seminar. Downloading music added some “jazz” to my day while giving me more insight into your business model. Thanks for your kindness and the useful gift.
Appreciation/Congratulation Messages • Make it timely, simple, short, sincere and specific! Example This past week, I found myself applying the principles you discussed in your speech to the Lincoln Jaycees. The time analysis you suggested easily identified areas requiring more management focus. Prioritizing my daily activities will be a challenge, but now I see the need for it. Thanks for an informative and useful seminar.
Routine Claims A routine claim for replacement, refund, exchange or monetary reimbursement where responsibility is obvious does not require a forceful or accusatory tone. Example Our company recently purchased your Audit Partner 7.0 software. The 6.2 version served us well and we were interested in the additional features offered by the upgrade. Unfortunately, the new edition does not work. Our computer technology group discovered several bugs, especially in the reporting modules. As the attached error logs show – and your technical staff agrees – these problems are inherent in the software. Please refund our money or provide a corrected program that we can distribute to our audit staff. Thank you.
Favorable Response to Claim Your November 3d letter was referred to me for reply. Thank you for calling our attention to the problems you have encountered with Audit Partner 7.0. We have studied your error logs and agree that the software includes coding errors. We don’t yet know how they slipped through our rigorous quality control procedures, but we will find out. Meanwhile, please accept our apology and a service pack to correct them. Please let us know if you encounter any other problems. We appreciate your prompt feedback.
Writing Instructions • Use a separate line for each step. • Number each step if order is important; if not, use bullets. • Begin each step with an action verb and use active – not passive – voice. • If complex, include a flow chart visualizing the procedure. • Before distributing, test the procedure by having someone unfamiliar with it carry it out.
Example Requesting Computer Service • Provide the requested information. • Check your email for a service confirmation (typically within 24 hours). • Complete normal shut-down procedures when you leave; technicians will use their personal login procedure to complete service after normal business hours. • Check your email for a service completion notice. • Email us if the service was not completed to your satisfaction. Revised 3/21/08
Business Communication Chapter 7 Delivering Bad-news Messages
Reporting Bad News • Goal: Communicate bad news tactfully so the recipient accepts it and is willing to continue a positive relationship. • Historically, delivered face-to-face; however, in today’s far-flung global operations, email often is used. • The message still must be carefully constructed with empathy and tact.
Delivering Bad News • If bad news is delivered in the first sentence of the message, the recipient may shut down and refuse to accept the rationale supporting the decision. • Instead, use an indirect approach with the rationale first in order to build a pathway to understanding and acceptance; “why” first, “what” second.
Direct Approach? • A direct approach for communicating bad news is justified only if: > The message is the second response to a repeated request > The request is immoral, illegal or unethical and you want to “shake” the sender > Your relations with the receiver are strong enough to survive the effects of a direct approach But consider carefully before choosing a direct approach to deliver bad news!
Writing an Indirect Message • Opening >generally hint at the message without fully revealing it > but don’t emotionally close the receiver down with too much detail too early > and don’t build false hopes by being too empathetic Yes, it’s a balancing act.
The Inoffensive Opening • Start with a compliment • Express gratitude for something in the request • Agree with one point in the request, “Yes, but…” • If two requests, grant the smaller one • If refusing a claim, begin with some positive statement about the product • Review circumstances preceding the disputed transaction
The Supportive Middle • Build your case for the bad news with logical, persuasive reasons clearly stated • Try to find a significant alternative that can be done • Avoid negative or accusatory words • Use passive voice • Imply refusal: I wish we could, but…
The effective Close • Use a unifying summary sentence • Use a positive, forward-looking idea: “We value our ongoing business relationship…” • Avoid statements that imply you are conflicted about your refusal: “We hope you can understand…” • Don’t invite further debate: “If you have further questions…”
Good Example The HighFly skis you stocked this past season are skillfully crafted from the most innovative and durable materials. Offering a wide assortment of these high-quality products demonstrates your excellent business strategy for developing customer loyalty. Our refund policy provides you the opportunity to do so at the lowest possible cost. We fully reimburse you for unsold merchandise returned at the close of the season minus a modest 15 percent to cover our cost of holding the returned merchandise until the next season. The reimbursement we sent covers merchandise you returned at the end of February. In anticipation of the coming season, you can save 10 percent by ordering any of the new skis described in the enclosed catalog before May 10th. We look forward to meeting your future needs.
Denying Credit • Every business communication is directly or indirectly a sales message. If you must refuse a credit request accompanying an order, the goal is to retain the customer on a cash basis rather than have them seek products and credit from a competitor. • Give reasons for the denial up front and try to show that the decision was carefully considered, not arbitrary. • Have legal counsel review all credit refusals to assure that they comply with the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA) and other regulations governing fair credit practices.
Communicating Negative Organizational News • Build a basis for trust by maintaining ongoing, open, two-way communication and widely sharing company performance information with employees • If you must convey bad news, do it as soon as possible to avoid damaging rumors • Include a candid, complete, rational explanation outlining contemplated corrective actions and showing empathy. Indicate that you are available to respond to concerns. • Be prepared for this “internal” communication to become “external” quickly.
Crisis communication • Have a crisis communication plan including a simplified decision-making process involving only the absolutely necessary people. • Immediately activate a crisis command center. • Remain calm, even though those around you aren’t. • Appoint a single- trained spokesperson through whom everything is communicated (not the CEO and not you). • Communicate promptly with absolute accuracy to all impacted audiences.
Business Communication Chapter 8 Delivering Persuasive Messages
Persuasion • The ability to use an honest, organized presentation of information to influence others to buy whatever you’re selling (a product, a service, an idea, yourself, etc.) • To succeed, you must know both your product and your audience intimately.
The Product • What is its chief strength? • What are its weaknesses? • How does it compare to competitors? • What does it cost? • What will it do for the audience?
The Audience • Who are they (age, gender, race, culture, occupations, similarities, differences, things shared with you, etc.)? • What do they need, want, fear? • What are the best channels/ways to reach them? • What is your goal? How can you leverage their needs to achieve yours?
The Process • Goal: establish an immediate relationship between the audience and your product Attention, Interest, Desire, Action (AIDA) • Immediately grab attention with something startling or something they need • Use a central, unique feature as the theme • Write concisely with short, bite-sized bullets and paragraphs • Use concrete, visually vivid nouns and active verbs • Use “you” language: You will enjoy… • Use specific, convincing evidence • End with a summary paragraph containing a “hook” to generate immediate action: Get 15% off until March 1st… • Always be honest and accurate • Beware cultural sensitivities
Business Communication Chapter 9 Reports and Business Presentations
Reports • Report: an orderly communication of information to fuel decision-making or problem-solving • Fact-based, objective and for a limited audience • Either inductive or deductive, but always organized • Can travel down or sideways, but usually goes up in response to a request from upper management
Proposals • Proposal: conveys how my organization can meet your needs • Often generated by a Request For Proposal (RFP) • Some companies have entire departments specializing in proposal preparation
Reports to Support Problem-solving • Problem-solving: • Recognize and define the problem • Select a method for solving • Collect and organize data, documenting sources • Reach a conclusion
Define Problem • Frame the problem • State the goal of the study • State the hypothesis to be proved or disproved “Productivity will increase when skilled employees are organized to work as teams rather than solely as individuals…”
Define Scope • What? A study of support staff salaries • Why? To determine if competitive • When? Immediately • Where? Our metropolitan area • Who? Bank support staff • Derive purpose statement: To survey support staff salaries in local banks to determine if our salaries are competitive.
Select Solution Method • Secondary Research: mines and reports information already produced by others > Quick > Cheap > Avoids needless duplication > Can establish need and point of departure for primary research
Searching • Be skeptical of all sources > Who wrote this? > Is it objective and credible? > How current? When published? > Do other sources contradict it? > It based on other data, what are they?
Primary Research • Observational studies: observation and analysis of occurrences such as customer buying habits • Experimental research: study of two or more identical samples with one significant variable (Does the variable affect the outcome?) • Normative surveys: snapshot of a situation at a certain point such as an election exit poll • Sampling: a sufficiently large number selected at random from a population will reflect certain characteristics, opinions, etc. roughly in proportion to the total population
Warning • Define the targeted population as narrowly and exactly as possible in order to assure that the sample is representative • Pilot test the survey instrument to refine it and assure its validity before conducting the full-scale survey • Select an appropriate data collection method that will generate accurate statistically significant results • Repeat to assure that the results are reliable over time • DON’T TORTURE DATA TO FORCE IT TO SUPPORT A PRE-CONCEIVED CONCLUSION; INSTEAD, LET IT LEAD YOU TO THE TRUTH. FACTS WILL SET YOU FREE.
Types of Surveys • Mailed: relatively cheap; can reach a wide number; often generates a low rate of return • Telephone: quick and inexpensive; allows probing; short because of intrusion; may exclude unlisted • Face-to-face: useful for in-depth exploration of complex or sensitive topics; labor-intensive and expensive • Email: fast, inexpensive, easily updated, limited to those with computers