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Bad-News Message

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At some point in your career, you will likely give bad news to people, so for the next assignment in our Businesses Communication Module, you will write a “bad-news” message. Delivering bad news is always stressful, but as we will see, you can lessen the impact by tailoring your message to the audience, since in most cases, you or your organization will maintain relationships with the recipients of the bad news.


This assignment relies on prompts for four specific message types. You may choose one of the following four:

  • Refused Request: Mozart Collegium Gala (Prompt #1)
  • Indirect Claim Letter: Pilgrimage Yoga Studio (Prompt #2)
  • Adjustment Refusal: Alliance Pest Control (Prompt #3)
  • Negative Announcement: Ybarra Dental Group (Prompt #4)

You will find descriptions and specific instructions in the Bad-News Messages Prompts handout in the Business Communication Module folder on Blackboard. We will go over each prompt in class.


Your awareness of the message’s audience is key to this assignment, since your goal is to satisfy the long-term interests of your company, its clients, its customers, your colleagues, etc.


In most cases, bad-news messages rely on the indirect approach, but you should think about how you want to present the information and choose the most appropriate approach for the prompt you choose. If you organize the negative message using the indirect approach, follow the general indirect organization plan outlined in class and in our Rentz text for this assignment.


As you can see, we will rely heavily on the Rentz chapter six for this assignment, and I will summarize the important points in out text about message types and approaches. However, I strongly suggest you review Rentz’s Learning Objectives 6.1 to 6.6—in other words, the whole chapter.

Format and Design

Three of the prompts ask you to write letters; the first asks you to write an email. You might review the forms of business letters and emails outlined briefly in Rentz Learning Outcomes 2.2 (pp. 28-29) and 2.4 (pp. 30-33) respectively.