For this essay, you are going to have to give bad news. This about style, organization, word choice, and format in giving your bad news. This is the scenario to which you must respond with a formal letter:

You are the owner and director of a successful day-care center. Small Souls day-care started with 5 children and now has 70 enrolled. Your reputation is so good now that there is a waiting list of 25 children. Parents even register their kids as soon as they find out they are expecting! You are now faced with a problem you have never encountered. You must expel a child and have to write a letter to the parents explaining your position and the reasons behind the expulsion. You have to tell Mr. and Mrs. Smith that their daughter Gina is being expelled. She has been enrolled for 3 months and is not able to get along with any of the other children. In fact, she has bitten 5 children (1 seriously), kicked 2 teachers, and hit, scratched, and pulled hair repeatedly. All of these incidents have been documented. Several other parents have even threatened to pull their children out of daycare if Gina continues to attend (Hint- this may not be relevant information). You have already met with Gina’s parents twice and have observed no changes in her behavior, even though the parents seem appropriately concerned.  


Businesses, both large and small, are often required to give news that will not be received well.  Although there is no way to make someone happy who is being fired, for example, there are better ways and worse ways to go about it.  Putting things in writing ensures a record of what has been done and said during the resolution of an issue.  However, since it is in writing is it also permanent and may be used against you in the future.  So you have to think carefully about constructing a piece of writing in which you must convey bad news.  Pages 82-82 and 102-105 give some tips on how to do this.  Formal letter style is required (Use full-block style and see format and all elements of a letter on page 96. Only your content is different.  When giving bad news, you don’t want to be blunt, and you will try to find ways to offer goodwill if you can. You must also be clear about the reasons behind your bad news (bullets work well here). Think about organization. Details are important.  Who, what, when, where, and why are questions you should ask yourself in preparation.  I suggest reading the letter out loud to “hear” how it sounds.  Pretend you’re the recipient and think how the letter would be received by you.

Your readings this week should have helped prepare you for some things you definitely want to avoid in any letter such as racism, sexism, cliches, etc…..But giving bad news is somewhat of an art, and it may take some practice to achieve just the right tone.  Although it is one of the most difficult skills to achieve, it is one of the most important in business communication

There are some videos on that you can watch to give you more information about giving bad news. Go to and in the search box type in “bad news message”. Two that I recommend (Of course, since anyone can post not all are reliable) are “How to deliver bad news/Leila’s House of Corrections,” and “Bad News Message/English Sparky”. One is the actual breakdown of a letter. These videos will give additional information and viewpoints. One of the most important things to take away from all the information is planning your message. You must put thought into what you say and how you say it.