Week3_ENGL227_Lecture

Week3_ENGL227_Lecture - Week 3: Negative Messages &...

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Week 3: Negative Messages & Collaborative Writing - Lecture Hel p
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Print This Page Introduction Planning Negative Messages Writing Negative Messages The Direct Approach for Certain Negative Messages Direct or Indirect? Completing Negative Messages Working in Teams Nonverbal Communication Writing in Teams Review Introduction Last week, we studied routine and positive messages using the direct approach. This week, we'll study negative messages that often (but not always) use the indirect approach. Examples of negative messages are a memo announcing budget cuts in a department, a letter turning down a job applicant or request for credit, an e-mail to a customer to convey that a shipment is late, or a press release on a company website announcing projected layoffs. Planning Negative Messages Negative messages are far more difficult to write than routine or positive messages because readers resist the message, either by objecting, or becoming angry, emotional, dissatisfied, or demotivated. You might wonder: If readers are just going to be upset by a negative message, why not just blurt out the bad news and hope the bad feelings will blow over soon? The reason is that doing so runs the risk of damaging professional relationships and will likely cause more problems. Crafting a well-written negative message is your best chance at preserving professional relationships and gaining acceptance of the negative message. In the planning step of any writing task, we must analyze the audience. Here are some aspects of audience analysis we considered in Weeks 2 and 4, when we worked on taking an audience-centered approach and writing routine and positive messages: How many people are in my audience? Who are they? (Gender, age, cultural background, position within the organization, etc.) How close is my relationship to them? How much do they know? How much do they need to know?
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What are their interests in the situation at hand? How will they react to my message? The final question (“How will they react to my message?”) is crucial in helping us determine the type of message we’re writing. What makes a message negative? Just as in routine and positive messages, the content is part of the equation. If the message is one that announces something bad, then it is negative. But there’s more to categorizing these messages than just the content. We must also anticipate the audience’s reaction. Sometimes our perception of the message content as writers differs from how our audience will receive it. What seems like a routine announcement about a business change might come across as a real inconvenience for someone else. A negative message, therefore, is one to which we expect the audience’s reaction to be displeasure. If you anticipate that the reader is likely to be upset, angry, disappointed, or inconvenienced, then you’re delivering a negative message. Just as with other kinds of messages, the next step after analyzing the audience is to establish your purpose for
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Week3_ENGL227_Lecture - Week 3: Negative Messages &...

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