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Types & Genres. (Short) Business Correspondence. Revisit PAGOS Specific purpose may determine organization adjustment, claim, request, complaint, inquiry, response, “to-file”, etc. Determine whether correspondence is: good news / positive / neutral bad news / negative

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before you begin

Revisit PAGOS

Specific purpose may determine organization

adjustment, claim, request, complaint, inquiry, response, “to-file”, etc.

Determine whether correspondence is:

good news / positive / neutral

bad news / negative

persuasive / sales

Before you Begin
positive neutral organization
Positive/neutral: organization

Direct Approach Organization

  • OPENING: main idea, purpose, request
  • BODY: details
  • CLOSING: request action (if needed), goodwill closing
negative bad news communication goals

Acceptance—strive to help receiver understand and accept the bad news.

Positiveimage—promote good image of yourself and your organization. Strive to reduce bad feelings. Convey fairness.

Messageclarity—make the message so clear that no further correspondence is necessary.

Protection—avoid creating legal liability.

Negative/bad news: Communication goals
negative bad news organization
Negative/bad news: organization

Indirect Approach Organization (BEBE)

  • Buffer: opening with context
  • Explanation
  • Bad news (offer alternative?)
  • Exit: goodwill closing (offer alternative?)
types of buffers

Start with any good news or positive elements the letter contains.

State a fact or provide a chronology of events.

Refer to enclosures in the letter.

Thank the reader for something he or she has done.

State a general principle.

Types of Buffers
evaluating buffer statements
Evaluating Buffer Statements

How effective are the following openings for a letter that refuses to grant credit?

Unfortunately, your application for credit has been reviewed negatively.

Reveals the bad news bluntly.

We sincerely regret that we must deny your credit application.

Sounds phony and canned.

evaluating buffer statements1
Evaluating Buffer Statements

How effective are the following openings for a letter that refuses to grant credit?

We are delighted to receive your application for credit.

Gives the wrong impression.

The recent resurgence of interest in the stock market caught many of us by surprise.

Is not relevant.

evaluating buffer statements2
Evaluating Buffer Statements

How effective are the following openings for a letter that refuses a request for a donation?

Your request for a monetary contribution has been referred to me for reply.

Fails to engage the reader.

We appreciate the fine work your organization is doing to provide early childhood programs that meet the needs of parents and very young children.

Compliments reader and implies approval.

slide11

Avoid

the

spotlight.

Use a

long

sentence.

Use the

passive

voice.

Techniques for

Cushioning

Bad News

Suggest

a compromise or an alternative.

Place the

bad news

in a subordinate

clause.

Imply

the

refusal.

Be clear

but not

overly graphic.

0

cushioning the bad news
Cushioning the Bad News
  • Avoid the spotlight.Put the bad news in the middle of a paragraph halfway through the message.
  • Use a long sentence.Don’t put the bad news in a short, simple sentence.
cushioning the bad news1
Cushioning the Bad News
  • Place the bad news in a subordinate clause.

Although we have no opening for an individual with your qualifications at this time, we are pleased that you thought of us when you started your job search.

cushioning the bad news2
Cushioning the Bad News
  • Be clear but not overly graphic.

Try this

Our investigation reveals that your employment status and your financial position are unstable at this time.

cushioning the bad news3
Cushioning the Bad News
  • Imply the refusal.

Try this

Although all our profits must be reinvested in our company this year, we hope to be able to support your future fund-raising activities.

cushioning the bad news4
Cushioning the Bad News
  • Suggest a compromise or an alternative.

Although the cashmere sweater cannot be sold at the erroneously listed price of $18, we can allow you to purchase this $218 item for only $118.

cushioning the bad news5
Cushioning the Bad News
  • Consider using passive voice verbs.

Passive-voice verbs focus attention on actions rather than on personalities. They are useful in being tactful.

Instead of this

We cannot make a contribution at this time.

Try this

A contribution cannot be made at this time.

cushioning the bad news6
Cushioning the Bad News
  • Consider using passive voice verbs.

Active voice

I cannot allow you to return the DVD player because . . . .

Passive voice

Return of the DVD player is not allowed because . . . .

Ryan checked the report, but he missed the error.

The report was checked, but the error was missed.

cushioning the bad news7
Notice that passive-voice verb phrases always include “helper” verbs, such as is, are, was, were, being, or been.Cushioning the Bad News
  • Examples of “helper” verbs forming passive voice:
    • The report was checked.
    • The schedule is being revised.
    • Invitations were sent.
closing alternatives

Offer the reader another way to get what’s wanted (compromise, substitute, etc.)

Suggest the writer really cares about the reader.

Enable the reader to reestablish psychological freedom (choice).

End on a forward looking, positive note.

Closing / Alternatives
persuasive communication goals

To have the reader act.

To provide enough information so the reader knows exactly what to do.

To overcome any objections that might prevent or delay action.

Persuasive: Communication goals
persuasive general organization

Opening: Problem statement? Hook? Detail? Situation/Context? Request?

    • LINK TO READER BENEFIT
  • Body: details, reasons, etc.
  • Close: restate request, idea
Persuasive: General organization
persuasive cold organization
Persuasive:COLD organization

AIDA

Attention

Interest

Desire

Action

persuasive cold organization1
Persuasive:COLD organization

Capture the ATTENTION of the reader.

Offer something valuable, promise a benefit, ask a question, provide a quotation, and so forth

persuasive cold organization2
Persuasive: COLD organization

Build INTEREST.

Emphasize a central selling point. Make rational and emotional appeals

persuasive cold organization3
Persuasive: COLD organization

Elicit DESIRE.

To reduce resistance, use testimonials, money-back guarantees, free samples, performance tests, or other techniques.

persuasive cold organization4
Persuasive: COLD organization

Motivate ACTION.

Offer a gift, promise an incentive, limit the offer, set a deadline, or guarantee satisfaction. Include a P.S. with a special inducement.

persuasive reader benefits
Persuasive: Reader Benefits
  • Benefits and advantages the reader gets from
    • using your services
    • buying your products
    • following your policies
    • adopting your ideas
  • Demonstrate your concern for quality and meeting customers’ needs
good reader benefits are
Good Reader Benefits are
  • Adapted to the audience
    • Saving money vs. saving time
  • Developed using logic and details
    • Accurate
    • Detailed
  • Phrased in You-Attitude
  • Benefits are often “frontloaded”