Read attached documents. Create a planning worksheet then write a 450 word document. Details inside.

Assignment is due Mar 18th by 2:00 PM Eastern Time, (~17 hours from now)


Review the attached documents for info on writing a negative message.  Complete the Communication Strategy Worksheet and upload it before writing the document.  Info on how to complete the worksheet is also attached.


Task: Complete the Communication Strategy Worksheet.  Write a 450-word document responding to your assigned case.

Case: Negative, Case 1 – Music 101

In this case, you are Peter Salona or Paula Salona, the distributor of practice drum kit sold primarily through stores that sell musical instruments. The kit consists of small composite drum pads that serve of substitute drumheads and a pair of drumsticks. The drum pads are about six-inches in diameter and 3/8-of-an-inch thick. Drummers use this kit to practice drumming when it is inconvenient or impossible to set up a real drum set.The drum practice kits sell well when store personnel understand their usefulness, benefits and features. Your distributorship regularly conducts product demonstration and training sessions for sales personnel. Three times in the last six months, you have set up training workshops specifically for personnel in Music 101 stores. Fewer than 10% of store sales personnel showed up for your workshop, and no one attended the last workshop. You are annoyed that Music 101 has dropped the ball, wasted the money you invested in workshops and cost you significant potential sales. Music 101 has a large chain of stores and yet your product is selling less than 25% of what you estimate it should be selling. This is costing you real money, particularly when you factor in the cost of the failed training session. You think the problem is the lack of commitment to the training from Laura Fletcher, the sole owner of the Music 101 chain.

You have decided to write a letter to Ms. Fletcher to express your disappointment with the poor sales of your product in her stores and her lack of commitment to the product. In you previous interactions with her, you found her reactions to you similar to what you have frequently encountered with successful entrepreneurs. She is confident in her own decisions and does not pay much attention to the suggestions of others who lack her experience and success.


Communication Strategy Worksheet

Stage One: Planning a Message


Describe them.




Narrow your possibilities.


What emotion is the audience’s take away?


Written: letter, email, memo, etc.? Verbal: face-to-face, phone, etc.?


Direct or Indirect


Purpose statement/preview statement/scope/attention getting statement


List the points you need to make, then group/rank them in paragraph order.


Close it how.


More than narration. Brain is 30% to visual processing.

1.  Who is your audience?  Describe them.

2.  What is your purpose?  You have to sure of your needs and intended outcomes, as your message needs to be created to achieve this purpose.

3.  What is your focus?  Your story?  On every topic, there is lots and lots of information.  In order to be interesting, keep your audience’s attention, you need to create the context, the focus…the story.

4.  Included in creating the story, is the decision of the emotion.  What emotions do you want your audience to feel?  Is there more than one emotion – from what feeling to what feeling?

5.  What format is appropriate for your message?  Letter, memo, email, phone, voice mail, video, face-to-face, meeting, etc.?

6.  What is the approach?  Direct (stating the purpose in the opening) or indirect (presenting the evidence first).

7.  Brainstorm the introduction.  It’s the most critical aspect.  You need to get their attention in order to maintain their attention.

8. List the body points.  Then group the points into like-kind groups. Eventually these items equate to headings or perhaps paragraphs.

9.  Brainstorm your conclusion.  What do you want them to remember? What is the feeling you want them to take with them when they leave?

10.  What visuals help tell your story?

10 Smart Rules for Giving Negative Feedback

Here’s how to handle employees when a kick in the rear is more appropriate than a pat on the back.

Praising good performance is easy, but what about those times when someone on your team needs a kick in the butt more than a pat on the back?

In that case, you’ll need to give some negative feedback–and do it without demotivating or demoralizing the other person. This post explains exactly how to do this.

Before we get started, though, it’s important to remember that the goal of feedback is not to tell people what to do or how to do it. That’s mistaking the process for the goal.

The actual goal of feedback–even negative feedback–is to improve the behavior of the other person to bring out the best in your entire organization.

With that in mind, here are the 10 rules:

1. Make negative feedback unusual.

When a work environment becomes filled with criticism and complaint, people stop caring, because they know that–whatever they do–they’ll get raked over the coals. “I try to give seven positive reinforcements for every negative comment,” says Dan Cerutti, a general manager at IBM.

2. Don’t stockpile negative feedback.

Changes in behavior are more easily achieved when negative feedback is administered in small doses. When managers stockpile problems, waiting for the “right moment,” employees can easily become overwhelmed.

“Feedback is best given real time, or immediately after the fact,” explains management coach

Kate Ludeman


3. Never use feedback to vent.

Sure, your job is frustrating–but although it might make you feel better to get your own worries and insecurities off your chest, venting a string of criticisms seldom produces improved behavior. In fact, it usually creates resentment and passive resistance.

4. Don’t email negative feedback.

People who avoid confrontation are often tempted use email as a vehicle for negative feedback. Don’t.

“That’s like lobbing hand grenades over a wall,” says legendary electronic publishing guru

Jonathan Seybold

. “Email is more easily misconstrued, and when messages are copied, it brings other people into the fray.”

5. Start with an honest compliment.

Compliments start a feedback session on the right footing, according to according to management consultant

Sally Narodick

and current board member at the supercomputer company


“Effective feedback focuses on the positive while still identifying areas for further growth and better outcomes.”

6. Uncover the root of the problem.

You can give better feedback if you understand how the other person perceives the original situation. Asking questions such as, “Why do you approach this situation in this way?” or “What was your thought process?” not only provides you perspective, but it can lead other people to discover their own solutions and their own insights.

7. Listen before you speak.

Most people can’t learn unless they first feel that they’ve been heard out. Effective feedback “means paying attention and giving high-quality feedback from an empathic place, stepping into the other person’s shoes, appreciating his or her experience, and helping to move that person into a learning mode,” says Ludeman.

8. Ask questions that drive self-evaluation.

Much of the time, people know where they’re having problems and may even have good ideas about how to improve. Asking questions such as “How could we have done better?” and “What do you think could use improvement?” involves the other person in building a shared plan.

9. Coach the behaviors you would like to see.

Negative feedback is useless without a model for how to do better. But simply telling the other person what to do or how to do it is usually a waste of time.

Instead, use this

tried-and-true coaching method

, which is based upon what top sports coaches do.

10. Be willing to accept feedback, too.

If you truly believe that negative feedback can improve performance, then you should be willing to accept it as well as provide it. In fact, few things are more valuable to managers than honest feedback from employees. It’s to be treasured rather than discouraged or ignored.

Delivering Sensitive and Negative News

Writing that Works (2010). Oliu, Brusaw, & Alred
Business Communications, MGT 309
University of North Carolina at Greensboro

Hello Class. This week’s presentation is on ‘Delivering Bad News.’
I have a question for you? Do you have to deliver a bad news in business? Lots n lots of bad news.
What are some bad news examples in business?
Firings and layoffs. – Students, in class, always mentioned ‘firing’ first
Rejections & refusals. – Social rejection is extremely painful to us all.
Announcements of policy changes that do not benefit customers/consumers.
Requests the reader will see as insulting or intrusive.
Negative performance appraisals.
Product recalls or notices of defects.
Disciplinary notices
Here’s the important point to remember – the people who succeed in business are those that can deliver ‘bad’ information without destroying relationships.
So, let’s talk about how to maintain good relationships despite having to deliver the bad news that we don’t want. The secret is in how we deliver the bad news.


Stay in integrity
Careful analysis of the situation!
Adapt your medium to the message
Choose the appropriate tone
Take your time when writing
Stay relevant
Stay factual. Stay neutral
No “Pollyanna’
Be fair & reasonable
Stay concise
Assertive (avoid apology) . Consult supervisor & legal advisors
End positive
Passive voice is okay.

Here is a list that is important to do. Let’s talk through these items.
Do what you say are going to do. Loosing our credibility in business means we lose our business.
Carefully analyze the situation. Jumping to conclusions without reviewing the content or information is least effective. Make sure you give plenty of time to the situation before you are ready to make the decision.
Adapt the medium to the message. Most of the time we want to deliver bad news face-to-face. It’s not always what we can do always; its what we can do the best. So in lieu of face-to-face think of the best way to connect and deliver your message. Its usually the phone we next go to. It is difficult, but choose your best medium.
The tone is very important. It is necessary to say something and not be very negative as well. The person receiving your message is more likely to pick up the negative in our body language. So focusing on the tone, the edge, in addition to the words because people feel the vibrations, the energy.
Take your time to write. There are many situations that comes to my mind. There was this one time I had to tell a staff member that they will not be hired upon completing their probation. I had to write and rewrite the message many times because I was very emotional (angry at the staff member’s behavior that lead to the unit’s decision not to hire as full time past the probation period). I had to get my emotions out of the way. I see this among people around us. We must ask ourselves on how we write when we are emotional. Do we do an emotional rant? or stick to facts? Or communicate feelings with facts to show how or ways you see the situation? It is important we show our reader that we can stick to the facts.
Stay relevant – avoid brining in past. You must focus on the relevant, current and related information. This happens a lot in personal relationships. Please avoid this.
Stay factual. Stay neutral. In a complex and conflicting situations, we tend to throw our opinions a lot. Stay close to the facts.
No “pollyanna” – means don’t put flowers around a lot and try to make it lot prettier than it is. That makes our efforts and message untruthful.
Stay reasonable. People don’t like unreasonable events and unreasonable people. As business professionals, we got to stay fair
Stay concise. If you can say it in 7 words than in 25 words, 7 words is much better than 25.
Be assertive. No need to apologize. Consult a supervisor or a legal advisor . Be careful with apology because apology is also accepting responsibility. If you are going to chose responsibility make sure your supervisors are aware of that and any legal ramifications that comes with your decision.
End positive.
Passive voice is okay. End in direct approach. We don’t want the passive voice. We want the strong active voice. In the indirect approach passive voice is necessary. There is a document in BB that shows what passive voice is. The first one is The Verb ‘To be’ For example, “I have purchased” is passive voice. “I purchased” is active voice in past tense. So pay attention to excess words and tense usage in your writing
Now, let’s move to the next slide.

+ Buffer – Positive words with neutral feel
– Body – 3 sentences
Sentence 1 – Positive words with a neutral feel
Sentence 2 – Negative information.
Sentence 3 – Positive words with a neutral feel – transition out.
+ Goodwill close
“Sandwich” Construction
+ – +

While there are many ways to write an indirect message, in this course, we will practice the one nicknamed ‘the sandwich.’ I expect your assignments to be in this construction.
The first paragraph is the buffer. It’s a slow lead in to your purpose. The next slide details Buffers.
The middle paragraph is where the bad news is….it’s nested in the center of the center paragraph.
The last paragraph is a positive goodwill-building close.

Buffer – (Introduction)
Express appreciation
Not misleading
On point
Buffer Statements:
Thank your for participating in our competition.
It was great to see you at the conference. The keynote speaker gave a fantastic presentation. (Email hello)

“Thank you for participating in our competition.” That’s a great example of a buffer. It’s positive, it’s specific, it’s concise and it’s relevant.

Minimize the space allocated.
Subordinate bad news in a complex or compound sentence.
Embed the bad news in the middle of a paragraph or use parenthetical expressions.
Use a condition statement (if, then)
Tell what you will do, not what you won’t do
However, don’t let the bad news get lost by overemphasizing the positive.
State the Bad

In the body, your task is to ease into the bad news. You are to deliver the bad news in the center of the center paragraph. Your first sentence is a lead into the bad news. Your second para is your bad news with a lead into the goodwill statement.
Here are some tips:
Since the reader can re-read the bad news, you only need to say it once, and in a small way. Your job here is to minimize the bad feeling the reader will have receiving the information.
Remember, longer sentences cause us to lessen our thinking ability, so, use a compound complex sentence to minimize the bad news.
Consider using an if then statement in construction of the bad news sentence.
Or tell what you will do, not what you won’t do. Turn it around.
However, I caution you, be sure you don’t loose the truth. Stay in integrity. Stay honest. Persuade but don’t manipulate.

Examples: Bad News using Positive Words
Your account is in error. Corrections were made to your account.
There will be a delay in your order. We will ship your order on the 15th.
I can’t understand what you mean. Please clarify your request.

Here are some examples to help you understand how to re-language your intention.

Remember the end is a power position!
Goodwill Close

End on a positive note. Think – goodwill close.

Construction’s for Specific Situations

Review the next three slides for some specific situations of delivering bad news.

When you have a reason the audience will accept, give the reason before the refusal.
Then give the negative information
Present an alternative
End positive
Downplay the emotion. Neutral tone.
Negative message to clients/customers


Define the problem.
Tell how it happened.
Describe the options for fixing it.
Recommend a solution & ask for action.
Downplay the emotion. Neutral tone.
Negative to superiors


Describe the problem.
Present an alternative.
As for input or action.
Downplay the emotion. Neutral tone.
Negative messages to peers and subordinates

This is the more challenging situation – working in a peer relationship. It’s easier when hierarchy exists.

Delivering Sensitive and Negative News
Writing that Works (2010). Oliu, Brusaw, & Alred

I leave you with a statement – The people that succeed in business are those who learn to deliver negative information well.
Practice to increase your skill.


Construction’s for Specific Situations

Review the next three slides for some specific constructions of delivering bad news.


When you have a reason the audience will accept, give the reason before the refusal.

Then give the negative information

Present an alternative

End positive

Downplay the emotion. Neutral tone.

Organization: Negative message to clients/customers


Define the problem.

Tell how it happened.

Describe the options for fixing it.

Recommend a solution & ask for action.

Downplay the emotion. Neutral tone.

Negative to superiors


Describe the problem.

Present an alternative.

As for input or action.

Downplay the emotion. Neutral tone.

Negative messages to peers and subordinates

This is the more challenging situation – working in a peer relationship. It’s easier when hierarchy exists.


Delivering Sensitive and Negative News

Writing that Works (2010). Oliu, Brusaw, & Alred

I leave you with a statement – The people that succeed in business are those who learn to deliver negative information well.
Practice to increase your skill.


That dreaded time is here again…you have to tell someone bad news, and you know they’re not going to like it one tiny little bit.  But we can’t avoid it any longer.  So you’re thinking ‘ugh.’  Well, okay, you think some more and decide, I’ll just do it really quickly and use ‘my-way-or-the-highway’ energy.  This scenario and thinking-style happens often.

As a society, we teach conflict resolution by modeling.  Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we taught our children at a young age how to deliver bad news well.   And yes, it is possible to deliver bad news and still maintain a positive relationship, in both our business and personal lives.  We’ll talk you through some smart strategic decisions in two stages – preparation and execution.

Prepare to Deliver the Bad News

1.     First and foremost is for you to understand your listener.  How strong will his reaction be to the bad news?  What emotions will he experience?   What are his cultural influences?
What are her values?  In short, what are her filters?

Most important to an effective conversation is how you language the message.  You can easily touch an emotional trigger and get a bigger reaction than you wanted.  Choose words that connect to the listener, and you’ll better relate.   For instance, my two sons think differently – my eldest, Matt, is verbally intelligent and my son, Adam, is logically intelligent.   To connect with Matt, use lots of words – he likes that.  To connect with Adam, use sequential languaging, and he’ll stay with you well.  Tailoring your message to your audience is simply organizing it in the way the listener processes information.

2.     Create safety by being smart with where and when.  People need to feel emotionally safe.  If you want to have an effective confrontational conversation, select your place and time in advance with careful consideration.    The more comfortable the both of you are the better the chance of good word choices.   In other words, think ahead .

3.   What words do you use?  A critical success factor is your word choices in the moment.  The more positive feelings you project, the less resistance you will get back.    And your positive feelings are captured in your word choices.   Here are a few hints.

o   Don’t use blaming words.

o   Don’t use flaming words – no name calling.

o   Don’t exaggerate.

o   Do be careful and not use words that trigger negative emotion.

o   Do phrase your messages in what you can do, not what you can’t do.

4.   Select an effective medium.   Too many people use technology as way to avoid direct contact – voice mail, texting or email.  I say to you – don’t hide using technology.   It’s not fair to your audience.   If you have a pattern of delivering bad news in this way, you will eventually destroy trust and harm the relationship.  Be respectful by choosing a kind medium.

5.     Control you.  When you need to deliver bad news, it could be that you are emotionally caught up in the negativity as well, and if you start a conversation with negative energy and a negative tone, that’s exactly what you’ll get back.  So, a very important part of preparation is you and your emotions.  Get yourself out of the way.   Go for a walk – take the time to be in good emotional space.

Okay, you’re prepared. It’s time to deliver the bad news.  How do you do it?  Here’s how.


Once you are prepared, you need to deliver the news.  Here are two implementation strategies.  One is called The Sandwich and the other is The Staub Confrontation Process, published by Dusty Staub’s, CEO of Staub Leadership Solutions.  The Sandwich is often used in writing and Staub’s process is often a verbal delivery.

The Sandwich
–   When you expect the listener to have a strong negative reaction to your message, consider informing them gently.  Ease into the information.  Say a buffer first – a greeting, a welcome, a social comment, maybe a sincere thank you.  Then talk about the current situation in a real and factual way.  State the bad news (sandwich the bad news in the middle – hence the name). Then ease out into a positive -toned close.

·         The introduction is a positive message with an emotionally neutral tone. ·   The body is organized so that the negative information is nested in the middle of the paragraph.  And, by all means, state the bad news once using few words. ·     The conclusion is to wrap up the message and bring the listener/reader back to positive state.

The Staub Confrontation Process – In order to deliver the bad news effectively, you need understand the languaging process.  What do you say when in the delivery of your message?  The following details the flow for you.

Step 1:  State the facts.    Stay relevant.  Don’t mention old stuff.

Step 2:  State the impact.    State how this has affected you.

Step 3:  State your feelings.    State how you feel about it.  Be honest and kind.

Step 4:  Ask for understanding.    Ask your audience to repeat the message and work the conversation till you both feel like you have a clear understanding.

Step 5:  Make action decisions.    Communicating bad news is really about – what can we do about this?  Now is the time to make forwarding plans, and agree to those plans.

Step 6:  Agree on follow up.  Get agreement on how and when you will communicate on this matter again.  When you get the agreement in place, it’s easy to hold each other accountable.

And above all, stay present.  Be fully in the conversation.  Listen.

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