If you’ve been a manager for the past few years you’ve probably been the deliverer of some bad news. How did it go? It’s not fun, is it? Delivering bad news is never easy. The latest issue of Toastmaster Magazine provides some guidance to help make it a better experience for all involved.
The author, Kathy S. Berger, writes that a successful delivery of bad news contains the following elements…
1) A neutral statement that both the speaker and audience can agree on: This draws in the audience and encourages listening. — “The recession has hit our business hard. Sales are down 40% from last year. Actions need to be taken to reduce expenses.”
2) The bad news in one sentence: Just state the facts once. Don’t repeat, and don’t use negative words like “unfortunately.” Keep it crisp. — “There will be layoffs in 3 months.”
3) The impact of the news on the audience: Explain what it means to the audience member(s). Be specific. — “20 percent of you will receive layoff notices at the end of the month.”
4) Supporting details and facts: This is often the bulk of the delivery. — “Since production has been cut by xx%, line jobs will be most impacted. Some back office positions will be affected as well. In two weeks we’ll…”
Joe/Wanda, any thoughts?
Joe Kerr: I always start it off with, “Believe me, this is a lot harder on me than it is on you.” Most can commiserate with me on that. It just sets the tone. Know what I mean?
Wanda B. Goode: I’ve had a lot of practice at this lately. Too much. Practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect, though, if you are practicing the wrong things. Thanks for the tips.
Here are some related posts.