In business writing, a negative message is a letter, email, or memo that conveys negative or unpleasant information that is very likely to upset, disappoint, or even anger the reader. It’s also called a bad-news message or an indirect message. There are moments that we might be faced with the challenge of writing this kind of message. This could be a letter of rejection, a performance review, or other types of disappointing messages. Many of us find it very difficult to break the bad news, especially if you are the one having to do it. When writing a negative message, there are five different goals to keep in mind.
Goals In Writing A Negative Message
When writing a negative message, keep in mind that you have to properly convey the bad news, help the reader gain acceptance for the bad news, maintain goodwill with the reader, maintain a good image for your organization, and try to reduce or eliminate any future correspondence on the matter. At times, it’s encouraged to have further discussion. The following three-step writing process is the main key for achieving these five goals. All of these techniques will help you to write a good negative message.
Planning A Negative Message
When writing a negative message, you have to keep in mind that your reader doesn’t want to hear or read this message. So, make sure to consider the purpose and recognize whether it will be a straightforward message or a more complicated one. Keep the reader in mind and gather the required information for them to accept and understand your message. Also, you have to know what type of medium to use for the message. It’s sometimes recommended that negative messages be delivered in person rather than via email or letters. But, in a case when it can’t be delivered in person, an email is recommended.
Writing A Negative Message
When it comes down to actually writing a negative message, ensure that the message is kind and clear. To achieve that, make sure you use positive words rather than negative words. Instead of saying, “Your profile doesn’t qualify for the job role”, use, “You have a very good profile, but we don’t think it’s a good fit for the job role at the moment.” If you can give a brief reason why, please, do. Also, if there is any chance for this bad news to change in the nearest future, please, let them know, and also let them know how that can happen.
Completing A Negative Message
Once you have completely written your negative message, pay close attention to details and ensure that there are no errors whatsoever. The reader will tend to focus even on the smallest of errors when reading a negative message. Finally, be sure to promptly deliver the negative message before the reader hears it from somebody else.