Read the situations below, and then for each situation choose the answer that best uses the structural elements.
You are vice-president of operations for Kolor Kosmetics, a small manufacturer in Toronto, Canada. One of your colleagues from the local chamber of commerce, Dr. Andrea T. Mazzi, has written asking whether your firm can provide a summer internship in your department for her son Peter, a college sophomore who is interested in a manufacturing career. Kolor Kosmetics has no provisions for temporary summer employees and does not currently operate an internship program. Which of the following openings is the most clear and respectful?
A - No positive opening. You are using the direct approach since you already know Dr. Mazzi.
B - Dear Dr. Mazzi, Thank you for the trust you have placed in Kolor Kosmetics by requesting an internship for your son.
C - Dear Dr. Mazzi, I have received your letter requesting an internship for your son.
D - Dear Dr. Mazzi, Your son's ambition in seeking an internship for the summer is commendable.
E - Dear Dr. Mazzi, I would be glad to offer an internship to your son. (You would then go on to give the rationale and then tell why even though you would be glad to offer the internship, you cannot.)
Response A: Ms. Mazzi is a colleague, not a close friend, so in the absence of other good reasons for using the direct approach, it's safer to use the indirect approach.
Response B: Misleading. Thanking a reader for a request when you're going to refuse it can be misleading.
Response C: Neither positive, nor informational.
Response D: Positive, genuine, and not misleading.
Response E: Misleading. The same words are often used to grant a request.
As the director of franchise operations for McDonald's, Inc., you must evaluate the hundreds of applications for franchises you receive each month. Today you received an application from Maxine Dention, who is developing a large shopping-center complex in Austin, Texas. Her corporation wants to open a McDonald's restaurant in her shopping center. Of course, they will have no trouble coming up with the initial investment. And they will select a qualified manager who will then go through McDonald's extensive training and orientation course.
But McDonald's has a policy against granting franchises to corporations, real estate developers, and other absentee owners. They want their owners to manage their stores personally. They prefer high-energy types who will devote their careers to their restaurant and not be involved in numerous other business ventures. What reasons should you use to turn down Ms. Denton's application? In what order should the reasons be presented?
A - We discovered through an independent study, that our successful franchises are those where the owners have devoted their careers to their McDonald's restaurants.
Thus it's against our company policy to grant franchises to corporations, real estate developers, and other absentee owners.
B - Several years ago, we hired an independent firm to conduct a study to determine the factors that made our successful restaurants work well. They determined that our family-friendly reputation is largely a result of our franchise owners managing their stores personally.
The study also found that non-owning managers of our franchises are not as high energy as managers who are also owners.
Our owners who weren't managing their restaurants weren't receiving the profits they had hoped for.
C - One of the goals stated in our mission statement is to maintain a family-friendly reputation.
Several years ago, we hired an independent firm to conduct a study to determine the factors that made our successful restaurants work well. They determined that our family-friendly reputation is significantly related to franchise owners managing their stores personally.
D - Several years ago, we hired an independent firm to conduct a study to determine the factors that made our successful restaurants work well. They determined that our family-friendly reputation is significantly related to franchise owners managing their stores personally.
One of the elements of our mission statement is to maintain a family-friendly reputation.
Response A: Not positive, not specific, could be considered derogatory to reader.
Response B: Though there are several reasons, they are not all strong, especially the last reason since the reader can claim to be willing to take the risk. This statement could also be considered derogatory to reader.
Response C: Uses only a strong reason, provides specifics, presents reasoning in logical order, not derogatory to reader.
Response D: Order of the reasoning not as logical.
Nobody likes a party more than Edgar Dunkirk, the president of Rockabilly Enterprises. In the early days, the company's holiday parties were legendary for their splendid food arrangements and outstanding entertainment (featuring the label's popular singing stars). Employees performed elaborate skits and competed for valuable prizes that included color television sets and videocassette recorders. These days, however, sales of the company's country and rockabilly recordings are down. In fact, Dunkirk has even had to lay off some employees. He therefore feels that the traditional lavish holiday party would be inappropriate and has canceled it. As Dunkirk's vice president of personnel, you must prepare a memo conveying this information to Rockabilly's 350 employees.
Which closing is most appropriate?
A - I'm sorry to have had to break this news to you.
B - I hope that Rockabilly will be able to continue the tradition of holiday parties in the future.
C - No positive closing. The direct approach with a rationale would be most appropriate in this situation.
D - Please let me know if you have any concerns.
E - Thank you for your contributions to and your influence on Rockabilly.
Response A: Refers to the bad news.
Response B: Not positive because it's not confident. Indirectly refers to the bad news.
Response C: Because the audience is large and mixed, and because Rockabilly seems to have an informal corporate culture, it's safest to use a positive closing, even if you're using the direct approach.
Response D: Refers to the bad news.
Response E: Positive and encouraging for the future. Doesn't refer to the bad news.
modified from material in Ober, Scott. Contemporary Business Communication. 5th Ed.: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2003, p. 316-325.