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This lesson has demonstrated how you can employ the indirect method of organization to deliver negative messages.In contrast to the usual business practice of getting directly to the point, the indirect method seeks to defuse anticipated reactions of anger and disappointment by embedding the main business, the negative message, in the body of the memo or letter.An extra paragraph, called the buffer, is added to the writing as a means of “buffering” or deferring the impact of the bad news. After this brief paragraph, you explain the factors that have led to the bad news. The bad news is placed in the middle of the writing, usually in the middle of a paragraph.Although the bad news has been postponed to prepare the reader for its impact, you must still be direct in expressing the bad news. You are not be able to mask or sugar coat the bad news in such a way that the reader doesn’t get the main message.Helpful to you in your task are tact, positive tone, you-attitude, courtesy, and avoiding apologies.Some of the bad news situations you will encounter are refusals, denials, negative performance reviews, announcements of layoffs and terminations, and imposing of penalties.
Other business communication situations employing the indirect plan are requests for money or time beyond the normal obligations of the reader.The indirect approach might try some business professionals’ patience. Yet, researchers in business communication have found that it helps to maintain goodwill when it is employed skilfully. Indirect plan – An organization pattern for communication that embeds the main purpose in the middle of the document.Buffer – A neutral beginning to a letter or memo in which the news is negative or questionable in nature.Euphemism – a word or phase that seeks to soften the impact of bad news or unpleasant informationSimplified letter format – A modernized form of the business letter, which omits the salutation and complimentary close.Tone – The attitude of the writer as reflected in choice of words.Spin – A slang term referring to words and phrases that impose a certain interpretation on events, often presenting a negative as a positive.Tact – The quality of being considerate, of being sensitive to other people’s feelings.Empathy – the quality of putting yourself in the place of another person, of sympathizing with that person’s feelings.You-attitude – Using the second-person pronoun you as a reader directed communication technique.Persuasive and sales messagesIn dealing with direct and routine requests, good news, and bad news, you are dealing with accomplished facts. Something is going to happen, and you have to write a communication to deal with it.Persuasion and sales communication are most challenging because you are trying to make something happen. You are writing to motivate someone to do something whether it is to buy a product or service or to perform an action.