Activities For Further Reflection

Your instructor may ask you to complete one or more of the following exercises.

  1. Choose one of the following bad news scenarios. Decide how you want to deliver the message (in person, phone, email, letter, etc), then write out the message (or a script for a conversation). Feel free to make up supporting details.
Scenario: You are the manager of a clothing store. A customer emails you to complain that she was not allowed to return a dress. Unfortunately, the customer’s dress had been torn up by her dog. Your refund policy does not cover this type of damage. You must tell the customer that you can’t refund her money.
Scenario: You promised your boss that you would finish your report by 5 pm today. Unfortunately, you are still waiting for information from your coworker, Pam. Pam and your boss are good friends. You must let the boss know that if you don’t get the information from Pam soon, the report will be late.
Scenario: You are a manager of a restaurant. Your best waiter is named Chad. Lots of customers come in to the restaurant because they love his service. Unfortunately, Chad has been rude to the other wait staff and they have complained to you. Today, you witnessed Chad yelling at a hostess for a very minor reason. You need to get Chad to improve his behaviour, while also maintaining a positive relationship with him so he doesn’t quit.
Scenario: You work for a small start-up that makes designer baby toys. Recently, your team has received several complaints about your most popular toy, saying that it has broken in a way that could harm babies. Your CEO asked you to research this issue, and your research shows that the toy is not safe and must be recalled. You must tell the CEO immediately.
Scenario: You run a coffee shop. Your friend Becky is an artist. She asked if she could hang her art on the walls of your coffee shop. You’ve done this in the past with other artists, and it’s been a success, so you agreed. Unfortunately, you’ve just found out that the art that Becky wants to display is pornographic. You no longer want to hang it in the coffee shop. You need to tell her in a way that preserves the friendship.

2. Search for some of your favourite businesses online and see how they handle customer complaints. Do they follow the strategies discussed in this textbook?


Bovee, C., & Thill, J. (2010). Business communication essentials: A skills-based approach to vital business English (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.


This chapter contains material taken from Introduction to Professional Communications is (c) 2018 by Melissa Ashman and is licensed under a Creative Commons-Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International license.


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Business Writing For Everyone Copyright © 2021 by Arley Cruthers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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