Negative News

Use formal block letter style to write your message.

  1. Be sure to include a company address and the recipient’s address in the correct order.   Dates should be written out completely.
  2. Start the message with a buffer sentence.  The first sentence should not reveal the bad news. “Your telecommuting application is denied” is not correct. It uses “you-viewpoint” but since the news is negative, use of “your” in this example is incorrect.
  3. Next, provide reasoning that would justify the negative news, but do not give the bad news yet! Candidates want to know that the process for candidate selection was well thought out and fair.
  4. Give the bad news in more positive terms than stated in the assignment. It can be done!  Also, be sure the bad news is not mentioned until the end of the 2nd paragraph or 3rd paragraph of the letter.
  5. Follow the bad news with positive statement(s) and an alternative way forward. The closing sentence should not refer to the bad news.
  6. Avoid personal statements in this formal rejection letter. Your letter will likely go into Tony’s personnel file and it will have your signature on it.
  7. Do not copy phrases from the assignment. Instead, rewrite the ideas using your own words.  Remember to use bulleted lists (parallel constructions) when it strengthens communication, especially positive communication.

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