A buffer statement is a neutral or positive statement to set a welcoming tone to the conversation. Such statements act as a setup for the information to follow. If there is neutral business communication or positive news, a buffer can accentuate the experience. If there is bad news to follow, a buffer can soften the blow.
Particularly in the case of bad news messages, the importance of buffer statements increases multiple times. It helps to set an optimistic and forward-looking approach to bad news which follows. This soft landing helps the reader to overcome the stress a little easier.
Following are some common approaches taken –
- Gratitude: The writer expresses gratitude towards the contribution of the intended audience. Often times such gratitude involves enumeration of achievements and highlights of the intended audience while establishing that their role is appreciated.
- Facts: Sometimes, it is difficult to project a positive spin to the conversation and the writer has to resort to plain and simple facts in the most approachable manner.
- Agreement: When a message is to be delivered to an audience who is not expected to agree with the circumstances or the outcome, it is important to find a middle ground so that even the disagreeable news is somewhat acceptable.
- Good News: While delivering bad news, if the writer starts with good news, it softens the blow of the bad news and helps the recipient look forward towards a better future or different opportunity.