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#TuesdayTutorial: Good-News Messages

#TuesdayTutorial: Good-News Messages published on 12 Comments on #TuesdayTutorial: Good-News Messages

This week, the daily posts focus on correspondence in general. You will find posts that apply to letters, memos, and email messages—all of which you write in the workplace. Since none of the course projects focuses on correspondence, these posts will cover this important topic.

Today’s #TuesdayTutorial looks at the kind of correspondence most people enjoy working on: Writing An Effective Good-News Message (1m21s). Good-news messages are usually easy to write. At worst, your reader may be neutral about the information that you are sharing. In many situations, your reader may be pleased or even overjoyed, which makes your job as the writer simpler.

Even though they are easier, good-news messages do require a specific organization. Most importantly, you want to be sure that you don’t bury your good news. Put it right up front!

Watch today’s video to learn about the organization of a good-news message, all in just a bit over one minute:



Note: This video has closed captioning, so it does not need a transcript.



I found this video pretty relevant to things that I have done in my life. I remember when I got accepted into Virginia Tech, and I was so ecstatic that I sent everyone important to me a message. And in the message I put the good news first and then the rest of the information after that. It is essential to put the good news first because that is the whole topic of the message, putting the news at the beginning shows that it is important to you. Overall, I liked this short video and found it very relatable because we will all have good news that we will want to share with others and its important to know how to write those messages.

I never really thought about the format of a good- or neutral-news message, so I found this video interesting, Knowing now that there’s a typical format to follow, I recognize that most (if not all) good-news messages I have received have followed this format. This is a very simple idea, but I think it’s also a very powerful way to convey the important information.

I agree with you Caolina, I never really thought there was a set method of writing a good-news message. I always figured there was some kind of way to issue bad-news messages since that usually involves letting someone know of a mess up or shortcoming, so it would be courteous to follow some sort of procedure to not come off as rude. But this video does illustrate some good points that come with issuing good news to someone. The detail that stuck out to me most was the fact that you should leave the person with a forward-thinking message as you could add a possibility for more good-news in the future.

I wish this video gave some example of good news in the workforce. I see how wining a scholarship would be an example of a good news message for students but what about when you graduate. Would this include interviews? Promotions? Wouldn’t most of these be verbally communicated? I am also a little confused about what a “forward-looking” message might be. They gave the example of come again but what does that even mean?

I did like the distinction between neutral and good news but there really is not difference in structure correct?

I agree with you Cassie that his video had some shortcomings because it did not provide examples of a good-news type of writing in the work place. I feel like this video would have been a little more helpful if it included some examples of good-news messages that would be relevant to once we are working. I like the format of the good-news messages because it is like a sandwich. The “bread” portion of the sandwich is mentioning the good news and the “fillings” portion is the details about the good-news.

I think this type of median is useful in getting a point across in a brief and effective way. When I was offered a co-op for next semester, I called my family and told them the good news first: I got a co-op, then I told them the details of the co-op, like the company: Exxon Mobil, the time line: Fall 2018, and then the type of work: Manufacturing, and finally I ended it with essentially just a reminder of the information, and that it will benefit me when looking for full time jobs, and that it will not offset my graduation more than it already was supposed to be. The only hard part I find relating good news to this video is in one time situations, such as getting a job. Other than that I think the video is useful, and it is nice that it described everything in roughly one minute.

I thought the video gave a good flow for a good-news message by stating the main point first, giving details, and closing with a forward-looking thought. I just sent three good-news messages this afternoon because I am the supervisor for a Housing and Residence life community and we were sending out emails to the applicants we just hired. The good-news message with the offer of employment followed this format by having the good news first, giving more details about the position, and following with the date for when the applicant had to accept the position.

I recognize this structure from many of the good news messages I’ve received and it always strikes me as overly verbose. I generally don’t care too much about the news itself, and am only really concerned with the demands being made on me. And there usually are demands – actions I must take as a result of the good news. This goes back to our earlier discussions on making it very clear in emails what you are asking your recipient to actually do, so that those action items are not buried in the bulk of the message.

Especially in a workplace, I think respecting people’s attention and time is important. For any message you send, particularly workplace messages, you need to make sure your recipient actually benefits in some way from reading the message; for example, informing them of some new responsibilities they have or providing some information that’s valuable to them. If a piece of news has no material effect on my behavior or actions, then why should I care about it? Generally I don’t; and the message goes straight into the trash.

Outside of work, the frequent inclusion of action items in good news messages means often I don’t even see good news messages I receive as good news at all – on the contrary the additional responsibilities and demands make them much more like bad news messages because my tolerance for demands and responsibilities, especially unexpected ones outside of work where I’m not being paid to deal with them, is very low.

I agree that usually my good news follows the format highlighted in the video. But depending on my audience, I like to give some sort of build up. If I’m talking to close friends or family, I like to make them guess a little bit–but in professional situations I would never consider doing that. Also, I think that the video glossed over where to put in the “but” to good news. Like “I got this really cool job offer! I’m working at X company for Z amount of money, BUT I have to move to Houston”. I wish there had been some sort of advice for this.

This video goes hand in hand with something I learned in my Professional and Legal Studies class. Our professor thought us that whenever you are writing a message, always put the bottom message upfront. This is because we always seem to bury the most important message at the very end. Similar to the video, it is necessary for the reader to get an idea of the message right from the beginning, and not wait until the very end.

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