1. Complete the prewriting for the negative message letter: • Prewriting prepares you to write and helps you organize your ideas. • You may print the lesson and jot notes for yourself on the paper, or you may write notes on your own. • You do not have to submit prewriting for any points, but don't skip this important step! 2. Complete a draft of the negative message letter: • Read the case, Exercise 11.20. Write a modified block letter. Refer to Figure 9.3 and 9.4 in Module 9 for more information. You will have three paragraphs: o Paragraph 1: explain the problem or situation. Make this paragrph 5-7 lines in length. o Paragraph 2: give the bad news and present alternatives. Make this paragraph 5-7 lines in length. o Paragraph 3: give a sincere goodwill ending. This paragraphy only needs to be 2-3 lines in length. Below is the sample format for the assignment and tips for completing the Negative News letter. Company Name Company Address City, State Zip Phone Number Date Name of Individual Individual's Title Individual's Company Name Address City, State Zip Dear Ms. Individual: Use the information from Exercise 11.20 and write a letter in the modified block format. Refer to Figure 9.3 on page 129 for more information. The first paragraph explains, but does NOT give the bad news. Explain the circumstances behind the bad news. Provide detailed reasons that give a full explanation. Don't place blame or refer to company policy; instead offer reasons. Write using positive emphasis whenever possible. (Make this paragraph 5-7 lines in length.) In the second paragraph, give the bad news clearly, compactly, and as positively as possible. Do not apologize. Do, after you give the news, provide detailed alternatives. Use "you attitude" for your alternatives and write phrases such as "You can..." and/or "You might consider...." (Make this paragraph 5-7 lines in length.) Provide a goodwill ending, that gives one or two positive, forward looking statements and an offer of contact. Avoid insincere statements such as "If you need any additional assistance," or "I look forward to doing business with you." (This paragraph should be 2-3 lines in length). Sincerely, Your Name Your Title (optional) Note: Double-space between paragraphs, and include 3-4 spaces between "Sincerely," and "Your Name." A note on using passive voice in negative letters: When you give negative news, you don't want to put emphasis on any negative actions. Therefore, you may use passive voice verbs when giving bad news and when explaining the circumstances for the bad news. In other words, you may use is, are, was, were, be, been, being, or am in the first paragraph--the explanation--and in the second paragraph where you give the bad news. However, for the alternatives, use action verbs. Alternatives offer positives for the reader, so you want to emphasize those actions. The correct use of these criteria will determine your grade on your final letter: • The letter is organized correctly: 1. The first paragraph provides explanation, and does NOT give the bad news. This paragraph is 5-7 lines in length. 2. The second paragraph gives the bad news clearly and compactly in the most positive way possible. The paragraph offers detailed alternatives. This paragraph is 5-7 lines in length. 3. The third paragraph offers a goodwill ending that makes a sincere, positive, and forward statement. This paragraph is 2-3 lines in length. • The letter does not use "I, me, my, myself, we," or "the company name ______." • Explanation is kept impersonal without placing blame. • "You" is not used when referring the negative situations and/or to blame the reader or to blame others. • The letter uses positive words and de-emphasizes the negative information. Avoids the use of negative words such as "no" and "limited," plus most "un-words, in-words," and so forth (refer to chapter 7 for a list). • The letter does not refer to the reader's or the writer's feelings at all. • The writing includes specific and accurate word choice and details and does NOT use the following words: thing, good, really, very, extremely, wonderful, outstanding, or any synonym of the above (refer to the online lesson in week 2 on using precise words). • The letter contains specific and precise alternatives. When writing alternatives, the sentences use active versus passive voice. (refer to the online lesson in week 2 on action verbs). • The writing uses familiar words. • The writing uses no slang, cliches, trite or over-used expressions, and no biased or sexist language. (Be sure the salutation goes to Ms. if the letter is addressed to a woman). • The writing is free of typographical errors. • Words are spelled and used correctly. • Commas, quotation marks, and other punctuation marks are used correctly. • The writing contains correct grammar without sentence fragments, comma splices, and run-on sentences. • The letter is formatted correctly: 1. Modified block format is used. 2. 12 point Calibri or Times New Roman font is used. 3. Spacing is correct. 4. The letter includes a company letterhead, date, inside address to an individual at a company, a salutation followed by colon, three paragraphs, and a close. 5. All components except for the letterhead are lined up on the left margin.