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Persuasive Message

Communicating to other people may be challenging. Especially when you need to convince them to understand and support your part of a story. 

It’s easy to deliver good news or a positive report because the message makes the recipient happy. But when the message is not positive, we know the recipient will probably have a negative reaction. Anticipating that reaction often makes us nervous, which can lead to even more tension in the situation. 

Dr. Tom Roberts, an internist at a busy hospital in Boston, often has to give bad news to his patients. Roberts (2017) said that he learned an important lesson when the tables were turned and someone had to give bad news to him:

Recently, I found myself on the other side of an end-of-life conversation. My grandmother was in an intensive care unit, and my grandfather called me in a frantic state because he couldn’t figure out what was happening. I called the hospital and got through to a nurse, who relayed every detail: the amount my grandmother’s blood pressure had dropped, the number of times she was given epinephrine, the rounds of CPR. After what felt like an eternity, I finally asked: ‘She died, didn’t she?’ Her answer: ‘Yes.’ The nurse had spent so much time on the details, she had forgotten to tell me the only thing I needed to know. After I got off the phone, I practiced what I needed to say to my family. Then I called them and said it: ‘Grandma died.’
Most of us will never need to deliver such serious news, but we will certainly have to discuss confidential or sensitive information with our customers, co-workers, clients, or patients. Preparing for these situations will help you when the need arises later. When preparing for these moments also keep in mind the five (5) parts to a message. Remember to attract your “audience’s” attention by using an (1) attention statement with something like, “I’m going to explain.” Then you can begin your (2) introduction to the message you want to deliver followed by the main content or (3) body of the message. After you have explained your main idea, you can (4) conclude by summarizing your important points and then leave a (5) residual message with your audience that will help them remember the information you just provided to them. 

McLean, S. (2012). Communication for Business Success. Lardbucket Textbooks. Retrieved

Roberts, T. (2017). How I learned to break bad news to patients and their families. Chicago Tribune. Retrieved from

Identify a workplace situation that requires you to communicate sensitive information to a client, customer, or patient. How would you structure your communication to avoid the other person becoming angry or distressed? How can you persuade them to take necessary action in this situation? Use the five-part message format outlined by McLean (2012) to write what you would say to them:

Attention statement
Residual message 
Your assignment is going to resemble a script or notes for a speech, as you are preparing what you would say instead of writing a letter or memo. Remember to include the strategies from this week’s readings:

Choose your words carefully.
Be honest and open about the news. Don’t try to delay or avoid what they need to hear.
Show empathy.
Be willing to answer questions they may have.
Explain the steps that must follow the news (physical therapy, alternative purchase, data recovery, etc.). Offer to help them take appropriate action.
You don’t need to use IWG format; just make sure that your name and the date are at the top of the first page. You need to write at least 500 words.

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