I’m a big proponent of getting to the point quickly for just about every kind of business writing. It makes for faster writing and makes for faster reading, too.
However, whenever I have to write unpopular or bad news, I refrain from using the BLATT technique. I choose to make a bad news sandwich instead.
Readers typically prefer to hear good news quickly and bad news a little more slowly. The “Bad News Sandwich” is a writing method that places your disappointing response between two more positive statements.
If you absolutely have to give bad news in writing, try to soften the writing with an introduce, support, and conclude business writing format:
- Create a positive opening.
- Build a bridge between this email or letter and any previous communication.
- Write a general statement of your purpose for writing.
- Develop the reason(s) for the bad news.
- Emphasize what can be done (when possible).
- Provide a statement of what can’t be done and offer reasons and facts.
- Offer closing remarks that show interest in maintaining the relationship.
- Prove information of what will happen next or contact information for followup (if appropriate).
The “Bad News Sandwich” approach doesn’t guarantee your readers will be happy to receive the news, but it does show you’re sensitive to how they’ll react when they read it.